Leishmania Affects Sindh-Balochistan Border Areas

Rare disease turns epidemic

KARACHI- Leishmania, a rare skin disease is rising as an epidemic across Sindh and Balochistan border areas, confirms Skin Specialist and Director Institute of Skin Diseases, Karachi, Dr Iqbal Nabi Soomro.

He informed that patients afflicted by Leishmania disease are being reported from Dadu, Larkana, Winder, particularly from hilly areas of Sindh and Balochistan, since several weeks.

Skin disease, Leishmania is transmitted by the bite of a Sand fly, and the probability of acquiring this disease are high during morning and evening hours.

If not properly managed by a medical expert, small leishmania skin infection or wound has the affinity of turning lethal over the passage of time.

Despite of World Health Organization (WHO) adding leishmania vaccine in the essential life saving drug category, Dr Soomro informed that vaccines to treat leishmania were not available in Pakistan.

He mentioned that all kind of diagnostic and consultation facilities are available at the Institute of Skin Disease, absolutely free of cost. Due to the unavailability of vaccines, patients are left to suffer if not managed in a timely manner.

While discussing this disease, Skin Specialist, Dr Qamar Iqbal Chandio added that leishmania is present all over the world, particularly in Africa, Central and South America, Asia and numerous other countries.

As per Dr Chandio, the major reason behind the epidemic nature of this disease was the free movement of people from Afghanistan to Pakistan, resulting in increased chances of transmission.

He advised people to report such cases immediately to their nearest hospitals, use insect repellent mats and coils, creams to repel Sand fly, followed by keeping the wound clean and well dressed. He further instructed everyone to use bed nets and cover the exposed parts of body during night time and use insecticidal sprays in and around the houses to avoid skin problems.

Earlier, team of World Health Organization (WHO) paid a visit to the Institute of Skin Diseases Karachi, to assess the overall situation and discuss vector control strategies. The WHO team will visit Sindh and Balochistan border areas to complete their assessment.

According to WHO, an estimated 700,000 to 1 million new cases and 20,000 to 30,000 deaths occur all over the world, annually.


January 25, 2019

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