The World Health Organization is looking into reports that ISIS fighters in Iraq have been showing up at hospitals with Ebola symptoms.
According to the pro-government Iraqi newspaper al Sabaah, an unknown number of ISIS militants have shown up at a hospital in the militant-controlled city of Mosul, about 250 miles north of Baghdad. The paper reported that foreign terrorists brought the disease into Mosul from “several countries” in Africa. (RELATED: ISIS Massacred Every Man And Boy Over 15 In Muslim Town)
It’s not yet clear whether the ISIS extremists actually have Ebola or another disease. Ebola symptoms include fever, vomiting, diarrhea and unexplained bleeding and bruising — problems which could also be attributed to malaria or yellow fever. And doctors in Mosul might be unable to even test for Ebola.
WHO spokeswoman Christy Feig said the organization is reaching out to officials in the ISIS-held area to offer help if the disease does turn out to be Ebola. However, United Nations workers are not allowed to work in ISIS-controlled areas in either Iraq or Syria, so a UN operation to help either ISIS militants or any civilians in the areas who contract Ebola is unlikely.
Feig told Mashable that there’s been no official notification from the Iraqi government that the terrorists’ disease is, in fact, Ebola.
ISIS is against western science and medicine as a rule, but apparently several militants have taken to hospitals with Ebola-like symptoms anyway. Since taking control of Mosul in June 2014, ISIS has taken to executing doctors that refuse to treat them.
Kurdish news website Rudaw reported in Nov. 2014 that ISIS executed six doctors in Mosul for refusing to treat wounded fighters, in addition to kidnapping six merchants for failing to pay a monthly tax to ISIS. The group reportedly executed two more doctors just last week.
The U.S. has been hitting ISIS with air strikes since mid-November and the Pentagon confirmed in December that the strikes have killed around 1,000 fighters, including three senior ISIS officials.
An Ebola outbreak, however unlikely, probably wouldn’t help matters much.