Sunday, September 16, 2007

leishmaniasis reported in Texas-Baghdad Boil

9 cases of human leishmaniasis have been reported in N. Texas. This disease is found in South America ,Mexico and the Middle East. It has also been called "the Baghdad boil" and is caused by the single celled parasite Leishmania. The infection causes large sores that look like boils and usually last six to 12 months. Doctors suspect human infection begins when a sand fly bites a rodent called the burrowing wood rat, which carries the parasite. When the sand fly later bites a person, the sores may develop.
( on line lecture-Dr Andrews bio-seminars link)
For those who contract Leishmaniasis weeks of hospital treatment with some very strong drugs is required. Nearly all patients experience side effects from the drug, which include debilitating fevers and headaches, incredible fatigue, and other conditions including chemical pancreatitis.

The best drug for treating Leishmaniasis is called Pentosam, registered in Britain since 1978. This drug, which is based on the heavy metal, antimony, is not registered in the United States. U.S. servicemen are being treated with it because the surgeon general of the Army has a special arrangement with the Food and Drug Administration for "Investigational New Drug Protocols," and the Centers for Disease Control maintain a supply. INDP is an odd way of describing a drug that was originally developed in the 1950s, but at least the troops are able to get it. If a civilian like me were to find himself with the "Baghdad Boil," I'd have to fly to England to buy the drug or hope the CDC in Atlanta looked kindly on me.


Marcie Hascall Clark said...

While the New World Cutaneous Leishmaniasis species such as Mexicana normally do not visceralize and attack the bones and organs, it is still a blood borne parasite.
This parasite can take up to twenty years to present symptoms in an otherwise healthy person. The parasite has been proven to live in stored blood for thirty days.
There is a ban on blood donations from persons traveling to Iraq and Afghanistan for this reason.
Leishmaniasis can be transmitted sexually, congenitally, and by blood transfusion or the sharing of needles.
There is NO sterile cure and treatment can be very toxic as you have mentioned. There is a drug called miltefosine that is available in Europe which works and is much less toxic but our military is not interested in it.
I am hopeful that there will be more options soon as organizations like One World are working on this.
This parasite should be taken very seriously. There must be thousands of soldiers and contractors back from Iraq and Afghanistan with this that do not yet realize they have it.

ROOPA said...

A veterinarian who treats horses.

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