Navigation Links
Dermatologists identify North Texas leishmaniasis outbreak

DALLAS Sept. 14, 2007 A team of dermatologists and dermatopathologists at UT Southwestern Medical Center has identified nine North Texas cases of an infectious skin disease common in South America, Mexico and in the Middle East, where it is sometimes referred to as a Baghdad boil.

Numerous cases of the disease, called leishmaniasis, have been reported in troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. But for the first time, cases of this dangerous infection are appearing in North Texas in patients who have not traveled to endemic areas.

The infection causes nonhealing sores that can be the size of a half-dollar or larger and that look like boils. These sores usually last for 6 to 12 months and because they are often mistaken for a staph infection, patients may have been given multiple courses of standard antibiotics without success.

The disease is caused by a single-celled parasite called Leishmania, and special cultures must be done in order to confirm the diagnosis of leishmaniasis.

The identified cases were from Waxahachie, Hillsboro and Glenn Heights, all areas south of Dallas; Tom Bean, Anna, Savoy and Nevada, all north of Dallas; and North Richland Hills.

North Texas doctors must have a high index of suspicion and understand that this organism must now be considered endemic in this area, said Dr. Kent Aftergut, a clinical instructor of dermatology at UT Southwestern and in private practice at Methodist Charlton Medical Center.

Luckily, all of the leishmaniasis cases in North Texas that have been cultured have grown Leishmania mexicana, which is less dangerous than other forms of the parasite, he said. It makes skin sores, but the infection doesnt spread and become a full body disease like some of the others species of Leishmania. Usually, if patients have a normal immune system, the sores will resolve in six to 12 months and wont make the patients ill.

In North Texas, doctors suspect that the process leading to 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, said Dr. Aftergut, who began tracking cases in North Texas after identifying the ailment in a patient who had been simply working outside in his yard and had no travel history to areas of infection.

If a patient has been in Iraq or another known endemic area, we are very used to looking for leishmaniasis. But in the past, you just would not have suspected it in a patient living in North Texas with no travel history. This is why I think its important to get the word out to other health-care professionals, Dr. Aftergut said.

For many years sporadic cases have been seen in South Texas. But no one has ever reported cases this far north, Dr. Aftergut said. He said this may be due to a movement in either the burrowing wood rat or the sand flies that transmit the infection to humans, although the reason for this movement is unclear.

There are nine cases of leishmaniasis in North Texas residents who had no travel history in the last two years, said Dr. Aftergut. This is very strong evidence that the areas we need to consider endemic are moving north.

Dr. Aftergut said he believes that rural areas are more at risk due to their proximity to wooded areas, where the burrowing wood rat and sand flies are more likely to be found.

Dr. Aftergut said using insecticides, bug repellant and protective clothing while working in areas where sand flies might be present should help reduce exposure. Once bitten, there are two types of medicines to treat the infection; however, one treatment can be toxic to some patients.

Doctors who identify a possible case of leishmaniasis should contact the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which can assist with the special tests needed to verify it. The federal agency also is tracking cases, Dr. Aftergut said.


Contact: Russell Rian
UT Southwestern Medical Center

Related medicine news :

1. Dermatologists Provide Unique Evidence of Possible Cause of Rare Skin Condition
2. Chances of Survival for Melanoma is High When Detected by Dermatologists
3. Sunbathers Beware of Skin Cancer, Dermatologists Warn
4. Holy Grail Of Dermatologists On The Verge Of Discovery
5. Laboratory Testing Can Identify Risk of Pre-Term Labor and Delivery
6. Now you can identify Sperm and Egg donors
7. Identifying Predictors Of Anthrax
8. Identifying The Risks Of Developing Schizophrenia
9. Researchers identify the early makers of Neonatal Sepsis
10. Researchers Identify Gene Connected To Bipolar Disorder
11. Blood test may identify ovarian cancer
Post Your Comments:
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... ActivePDF, a leading provider of ... to batch conversions of CAD drawings, plans, and diagrams to PDF that ... eliminates the complexity requirement of specialized applications to view CAD designs. Converting to ...
(Date:10/13/2015)... ... October 13, 2015 , ... ... world’s first commercially-available next-generation sequencing laboratory test for bacterial vaginosis- a significant ... Obstetrics in Vancouver, BC, Canada. , In a presentation entitled: "The ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... , ... October 13, 2015 , ... ... its biannual Heroes in Recovery Awards at Foundations Recovery Network’s Moments of Change ... presented the one-of-a-kind awards to Noah Levine and Dean Dauphinais who exemplify the ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... ... ... article published October 6th by the Herald Tribune, a recent study that compared ... 1988 has shown that it really is more difficult to lose weight these days. Specifically, ... 1971 would be on average 10 pounds heavier than their past counterpart. In terms of ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... ... ... Amerec , a leader in the steam and sauna industry, and ... displaying custom sauna and steam room solutions at the ISPA Conference & Expo in ... SpaEquip is recognized for their ability to assist in the design and implementation of ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2015)... Paul, Minn. , Oct. 12, 2015 ... it, a need to help integrate these devices into ... leader of ergonomic healthcare mounting and mobility solutions, has ... its lightest cart yet, for a wide array of ... S-Tablet Cart SV10 was developed exclusively for Microsoft Surface ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... , Oct. 12, 2015  Today, Divurgent is honored ... Advisory Services. As a former CIO, Paul brings 15 years ... just understand or sympathize with today,s CIOs, he is one. ... same challenges Paul has faced, and his new role with ... ensuring technology efficiencies across an organization. ...
(Date:10/12/2015)... , Oct. 12, 2015   Royal Philips ... digitization of pathology, today announced a collaboration with ... world leading provider of genomic-based diagnostic tests, to leverage ... up of its molecular diagnostic testing processes.    ... the examination of patient tissue samples and plays a ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: