STAT

Attacks in Syria and Yemen are turning disease into a weapon of war

The weaponization of disease in the conflicts in Syria and Yemen is causing outbreaks of cholera, polio, measles, and other public health catastrophes.
A cholera-infected man receives treatment at a hospital in Sanaa, Yemen, in May.

Barely two decades ago, the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia first treated rape and sexual assault as distinct war crimes. That decision revolutionized our understanding of rape as a weapon of war, leading in 1997 to the first-ever prosecution of rape as a war crime in Rwanda.

Today we are seeing another cruel method of warfare emerge on the battlefield: the weaponization of disease, particularly in Syria and Yemen.

Targeting health care facilities during conflict has occurred before. But unlike the attacks on hospital ships during World War I

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from STAT

STAT4 min read
Opinion: Silicosis Outbreak Highlights The ‘Malignant Neglect’ Of OSHA That Is Killing American Workers
Fourteen U.S. workers are killed on the job every day, and up to 5 million are injured every year. The hollowing out of OSHA is making this problem worse.
STAT5 min read
Opinion: Wanted: Better Policies And Incentives To Revitalize R&D For New Antimicrobial Drugs
Avoiding an antimicrobial Armageddon means developing new antimicrobial drugs and empowering physicians and pharmacists — not spreadsheets — to choose the right medicines for their patients.
STAT3 min read
Opinion: PhRMA’s Talking Points Shouldn’t Derail The Pelosi Drug Pricing Bill
We need serious reform of both pricing and insurance coverage of prescription drugs. There will be tradeoffs, but if you want to know what they are, don't read PhRMA's talking…