CONTAGION

Doctors Warn Palestinian Superbug Epidemic Could Spread

Doctors who are battling an epidemic of antibiotic-resistant superbugs in Gaza and the West Bank warn that the problem could spread beyond Palestinian borders. Superbugs are a growing issue in the world’s conflict zones, where shortages of water, power, and fuel for generators mean doctors cannot always meet basic hygiene standards, even though they know what protocols to use to prevent outbreaks. Gaza is a particularly fertile breeding ground for superbugs because its health system has been depleted by years of blockade. Doctors in the region often have to give patients incomplete courses of antibiotics or prescribe them a mix of drugs because the right medicine is not available. “This is a global health security issue because multi-drug-resistant organisms don’t know any boundaries,” said Dina Nasser, lead infection control nurse at Augusta Victoria hospital in East Jerusalem. “That’s why the global community, even if it’s not interested in the politics of Gaza, should be interested in this.”