A growing outbreak of hepatitis A virus (HAV) is spreading across Syria, with local doctors reporting nearly 1,000 new cases every month in the region since January, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) and reported by Reuters.

Hep A is a potentially deadly liver infection that is mainly spread through fecal-oral contact. The virus can be transmitted by consumption of unsanitary food and water, or via exposure to those who are infected.

Last year, international health workers diagnosed 31,460 HAV cases in Syria, a number that seems to be growing as internal conflict in the country continues.

The WHO warns that safe drinking water in Syria is only available at about one-third of the level it was before the civil war began nearly five years ago.

Other local reports show that many Syrians have become so desperate to grow food amid government food and water cut-offs that they have turned to irrigating their land with sewage water. Health workers in the country are also facing a serious lack of medical supplies, tests and equipment necessary to treat the disease.

In addition to hep A, the WHO also warns against emerging epidemics of typhoid and cholera in the region.