What you need to know about the symptoms and diagnosis of Leishmaniasis | Cure Keeping

INTRODUCTION

Leishmaniasis is an infectious disease caused by a protozoan parasite that affects humans and animals, most commonly transmitted by the bite of infected female phlebotomine sandflies. This parasitic disease can affect the skin, mucous membranes, and internal organs of the body and can be fatal if not treated properly. What you need to know about the symptoms and diagnosis of Leishmaniasis in this blog post.


What you need to know about the symptoms and diagnosis of Leishmaniasis


Here are the Symptoms and diagnosis of Leishmaniasis

The signs and symptoms of Visceral Leishmaniasis
The signs and symptoms of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis
How is it diagnosed?
Untreated, how long does it last?
Can it be treated successfully?
Can I catch it from someone else?


The signs and symptoms of Visceral Leishmaniasis

Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is an infection caused by a protozoan parasite, which is carried by female sandflies. It is present in 98 countries across South America, Africa, India and Nepal. The disease affects over 12 million people annually worldwide. Here are some signs that could mean you have VL: fever/chills, muscle pain/aches, weight loss and blood in stool/vomiting. 

There are several other common names for visceral leishmaniasis including kala-azar or black fever. However, even though it has many different names around 90% of all cases occur in five countries including India, Brazil, Bangladesh and Sudan. Diagnosis of visceral leishmaniasis involves identifying microscopic parasites from biopsies. One very important thing to remember is if you go outside make sure to use insect repellent. 

People who visit regions where sandfly bites are frequent should protect themselves with proper protection when outdoors such as applying insect repellent containing DEET and wearing protective clothing like long sleeves, pants and closed shoes with socks.

The signs and symptoms of Visceral Leishmaniasis - cure keepign

The signs and symptoms of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis

Cutaneous leishmaniasis can cause skin sores on a person’s face, arms, hands, or legs. These sores usually start as reddened bumps that then become ulcers. Itchy skin is another common symptom of cutaneous leishmaniasis. Other symptoms include fever, fatigue, pain, swelling near affected areas of skin. 

Many people who have cutaneous leishmaniasis don’t develop any signs or symptoms at all. In fact, their only indication that they might have it is seeing sandflies in the area where they live or visit. 

If your doctor suspects you have cutaneous leishmaniasis, he or she will take a sample of your skin tissue and examine it under a microscope for evidence of parasites. A blood test may also be done to check for antibodies against these parasites; however, many doctors believe that if antibodies are present but there aren’t visible lesions, this may not be an active case of leishmaniasis but one from which someone has recovered. 

This isn’t necessarily true for visceral leishmaniasis (see below). To confirm disease caused by Leishmania parasites , other samples are taken such as bone marrow aspirate and cerebrospinal fluid if brain lesions are found clinically.

The signs and symptoms of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis

How is it diagnosed?

A physical exam is usually sufficient to diagnose leishmaniasis, but if it’s suspected or there are questions surrounding a physical exam, other testing might be ordered. One common test for leishmaniasis is direct fluorescent antibody (DFA) staining of skin scrapings; when conducted by a trained professional, these tests are considered very accurate. 

If DFA testing is inconclusive or negative, smears from tissue beneath skin lesions can be examined microscopically for amastigotes. It is important that tests do not get contaminated during collection, as false negatives will result

What you need to know about the symptoms and diagnosis of Leishmaniasis


Untreated, how long does it last?

There are several types of leishmaniasis, each with a different prognosis (how long it lasts). The type of disease caused by an infection is called Leishmania tropica. 

This can be transmitted through sandfly bites, but not all people who are bitten get sick. It usually starts off as an ulcer that becomes sore and eventually forms a scab which falls off, revealing healing skin underneath; however, these sores usually take months to heal properly. 

People who develop immunodeficiency syndrome also have a higher risk for getting infected by Leishmania parasites. These cause more severe skin problems.

Untreated, how long does it last? - cure keeping



Can it be treated successfully?

Yes, some types of leishmaniasis can be successfully treated with a drug called liposomal amphotericin B. But, according to research published in The Journal of Infectious Diseases, one-third of those affected receive an incorrect initial diagnosis. 

That can delay treatment by months. If left untreated for too long, leishmaniasis can lead to permanent disfigurement or even death. For more information about leishmaniasis please refer below.

What you need to know about the symptoms and diagnosis of Leishmaniasis | Cure Keeping



Can I catch it from someone else?

No, leishmaniasis is not contagious. The disease can be transmitted by a bite from an infected sandfly, but it cannot be passed from person to person. To reduce your risk, wear long-sleeved shirts and pants when visiting areas where the sandflies are present. If you do get bitten, wash your wound with soap and water as soon as possible. 

Do not scratch! This can lead to tissue damage that opens up a space for bacteria or viruses (such as leishmania) to infect your body. In addition, maintain good hygiene by keeping your hands clean at all times—this will lower your risk of getting diseases in general. Traveling to another country?: While some countries experience higher rates of infection than others, there are no regions on Earth where leishmaniasis has been eradicated. 

Take precautions against bites, such as wearing light-colored clothing so that you’re more easily spotted by flies and using insect repellant containing DEET. Speak with your doctor if you plan on traveling outside of your region to confirm whether shots are required or what other steps should be taken before leaving.


What you need to know about the symptoms and diagnosis of Leishmaniasis | Cure Keeping

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