Aim The aim of this study was to report an outbreak of Neural Tube Defects (NTDs) in Iraq, and to highlight the possible responsibilities of international and local authorities for an action for the control of this outbreak in this region.
Methods Information for the occurrence of NTDs was gathered from reports published from an Iraqi western region, and for other countries from reports published by the International Clearinghouse for Birth Defects and European Network for Surveillance of Congenital Anomalies.
Results Prevalence rate of NTDs was 33 (per 10,000 births, CI95%: 21–44) in Iraq while different rates have been reported from various parts of the world ranging from 12.6 (per 10,000 births) in Cuba, 9.6 (per 10,000 births) in Norway, 8.7 (per 10,000 births) in China, 7.03 (per 10,000 births) in the neighboring country of Iran and 4.9 (per 10,000 births) in Hungary. These figures show that an “outbreak of NTDs” is seemingly being occurred in the Iraqi region of Al-Ramadi in the west of the country. The rate of NTDs in this region of Iraq is about 2.6, 3.4, 3.8, 4.7 and 6.7 times higher than that of reported from Cuba, Norway, China, Iran and Hungary, respectively. It is also 3.2 times higher than that of estimated/expected for the global population.
Comments The very high occurrence of NTDs in this Iraqi region indicates that there is an urgent need for an action by regional health authorities and international agencies to the control of this outbreak in the area.