Thursday, December 12, 2013


A big word for basically a parasite caused by an infected sand flea.  Docs in the States most likely have only seen this in text books.  In the five years I've been here, I don't recall seeing any - however - this week?  We've seen two cases.  And two very different cases.  Going to get a little geeky here - hang with me...
  • Cutaneous leishmaniasis affects the skin and mucous membranes. Skin sores usually start at the site of the sandfly bite. In a few people, sores may develop on mucous membranes.
  • Systemic, or visceral, leishmaniasis affects the entire body. This form occurs 2 - 8 months after a person is bitten by the sandfly. Most people do not remember having a skin sore. This form can lead to deadly complications. The parasites damage the immune system by decreasing the numbers of disease-fighting cells.
The first case we saw was a young 21 year old girl with severe complications from this that has involved her liver, and when I first looked at her, the whites of her eyes were completely yellow - jaundice from 

She has been fighting her disease for three years, and when I asked her what had been done for her, she gave me this desperate look and basically told me nothing had been done.  The hospital just doesn't have the resources for her, and whenever she had been to see a specialist, they were not there.  She had the second case - the systemic version.

The second case we saw was cutaneous leishmaniasis.  

This young man came to our clinic today.  Two cases of leishmaniasis in one week.  Certainly was an interesting way to finish out this year.

1 comment:

Kimberly Orozco said...

Wow..very interesting. Is your clinic now able to help the girl that has been affected systemically? What can be done at this point for her? Your ministry is awesome!