Reports of ISIS militants with symptoms of Ebola at a hospital in Mosul are being investigated by the World Health Organization (WHO).
According to Kurdish and pro-Iraqi media sources within Iraq, a number of ISIS militants have sought medical treatment for symptoms that may be Ebola. The reports are centered around a hospital in Mosul, 250 miles north of Baghdad.
While the reports remain unconfirmed, the WHO is reportedly making attempts to “reach out” to officials within the ISIS held areas. Mosul has been an ISIS stronghold since June, 2014 and militants have reportedly executed more than a dozen physicians for refusing to treat the violent extremists.
According to Iraq’s pro-government newspaper, al Sabaah, Ebola was likely brought to Mosul by ‘Terrorists’ pouring into Iraq ‘from several countries’ including Africa.
Christy Feig, WHO’s director of communications told Mashable reporters,
We have no official notification from [the Iraqi government] that it is Ebola.
Symptoms of Ebola include nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, bleeding and bruising are similar to other diseases such as malaria and yellow fever so the occurrences could have been easily misdiagnosed. Additionally, reports of ISIS militants coming from West Africa where the Ebola outbreak originated are few. Most fighters coming to Iraq from Africa are believed to have come from areas where the deadly disease has not been reported.
If the reports of Ebola appearing in Kurdish and pro-government media are correct, the consequences for citizens within the ISIS militant held areas could be catastrophic since the extremist militants are dogmatically opposed to western science and medicine. It is also not known whether the surviving doctors in Mosul are capable of testing for Ebola and it is unlikely that they would be able to properly isolate patients to slow the spread of the fatal disease.