The World Health Organization estimates the number of annual new cases of leishmaniasis at approximately between 50,000 and 90,000.
And it confirms that since the first years of the third millennium, the disease has spread significantly.
The disease is transmitted by a sandfly, which become infected during blood meals on infected hosts, and when it bites, it also transmits it.
What makes it more difficult to deal with sand fly is that:
- It does not make any sound and therefore it is difficult for the person to pay attention to it.
- It is one-third the size of a normal mosquito, or even smaller, which makes it difficult to be seen.
- Her sting isn’t noticed usually, because it may not be painful, which means that the patient doesn’t recognize his injury until he experiences symptoms of the disease.
Sandflies are usually active at night between dusk and dawn. Therefore it is advised not to go out at these times to avoid being bitten by it.
Khotoat Organization in the western countryside of Deir Ezzor had treated 151 cases of leishmaniasis during the year 2019, most of them were children. Furthermore, the Organization had carred out awareness campaigns about the disease, its risks, methods of treatment, and prevention.
Causes of risk:
- The lack of a waste disposal system in areas and the presence of open sewers, which lead to an appropriate environment for the breeding of sandflies that transmits the disease.
- Overpopulation: The crowded areas attract sandflies because it provides an environment rich in victims, which is also a characteristic of the poor areas that are characterized by overcrowding.
- Sleeping in open places such as the roof or the garden, and this may happen due to traditions as in the countryside, or because of poverty and the lack of adequate or insufficient shelter, or in the event of disasters and wars, which causes victims to sleep outside and that increases the possibility of being bitten by the sandfly.
- Malnutrition increases the possibility of the infection, which can develop into the visceral leishmaniasis, and this could be deadly.
- Immigration, that people moving to areas where the sandfly is lives, which increases infections. This happens usually in disasters and wars.
Prevention and Treatment
It is very important to diagnose the condition at the beginning of the disease. Therefore, the dermatologist or the nearest dispensary should be seen immediately when symptoms appear in order to receive the appropriate care.
There is currently no vaccine against leishmaniasis, and this means that the prevention of sandfly bites is the primary solution, by combating it by improving general hygiene and burying swamps, as well as by taking personal preventive measures to protect from the bites of this fly.
Protection measures from stings
- Insect repellents on exposed parts of the body and under the ends of the sleeves and legs must be used. These products should be used lightly for children between the ages of 2 and 6 years. It should not be used on children under the age of two.
- Long sleeves shirts and socks must be worn. The shirt should be folded and inserted under the pants.
- Spraying pesticides on surfaces inside the house. But outside homes and in open spaces must use pesticides as evaporated tablets or liquids.
- Staying in places with good air conditioning and using air fans during the time when the sandfly is active, which is between the dusk and dawn periods.
- Use of bed nets treated with insecticides.
- Using sieves on the windows and doors