The mass exodus of medical personnel from Iraq has left the country particularly vulnerable to health issues like this infection.
“This disease is a severe form of malarial infection caused by the parasite plasmodium falciparum, which is considered the worst type of malarial infection,” Dr. Ali Hakki from Fallujah told IPS. “It is one of the complications of that infection, and not the ordinary picture of the disease. Because of its frequent and severe complications, such as Blackwater fever, and its resistance to treatment, P. falciparum can cause death within 24 hours.”
What Iraqis now call Blackwater fever is really a well-known medical condition, and while it has nothing to do with Blackwater Worldwide, Iraqis in al-Anbar province have decided to make the connection between the disease and the lethal U.S.-based company which has been responsible for the death of countless Iraqis.
The disease is most prevalent in Africa and Asia. The patient suffers severe intravascular haemolysis — the destruction of red blood cells leading to kidney and liver failure. It also leads to black or red urination, and hence perhaps the new name ‘Blackwater’.