SYNDEMICS OF WAR: MALNUTRITION-INFECTIOUS DISEASE INTERACTIONS AND THE UNINTENDED HEALTH CONSEQUENCES OF INTENTIONAL WAR POLICIES

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Abstract

Syndemics play a substantial role in shaping the disease burdens of populations, especially in times of war. It is estimated that in the 20th century, sixty-two million civilians suffered war-related deaths, in addition to forty-five million combatant deaths. Many of these casualties were due to disease rather than battlefield injuries. Through a review and analysis of interdisciplinary literature on war and health, and using case studies of several wars from different periods of history, we argue that war is a disruptive biosocial process that sets in motion interactions between diseases and other conditions that increase war-related morbidity and mortality.

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