Three cutaneous leishmaniasis cases detected at Sukraraj infectious disease hospital

  • Infected sand flies transmit the disease when they bite a healthy person

Kathmandu, October 6

Three cases of cutaneous leishmaniasis have been diagnosed at Shukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital, Teku, so far this year.

The patients, one female and two males, hail from Dolpa, Palpa and Baitadi. Last year, three patients had received treatment for the disease across the county.

Cutaneous leishmaniasis is a kind of skin infection transmitted by infected phlebotomine sand flies. “Sand flies become infected while sucking blood from an infected animal or person and transmit the disease when they bite a healthy person,” informed Dr Anup Bastola, Consultant Tropical Medicine Physician at the centre.

Cases of this disease started being reported from different areas around the country after people suffering from scars and lesions on their skin started visiting the centres.

When infected with leishmaniases, a red lesion starts as a papule or nodule at the site where the sand fly has bitten. It grows slowly and increases in size resulting in disfiguring and scarring of the skin. Therefore, facial lesions should be treated on time to avoid scars or marks on skin.

Temperatures in the country, too, are favourable for sand flies to breed. They lay their eggs in damp cattle sheds, poultry farms and inside dark rooms. The pupa is found in crevices and in decaying organic matters. People living in huts and those involved in outdoor activities are more prone to bites of sand flies. Anyone travelling sand flies prone areas are at high risk of getting infected. People returning from places where risk of infection is high can also contract the disease.

The flies are active in evening and are nocturnal in nature. They are smaller and usually go unnoticed. Therefore, it is necessary to avoid sand fly bite.