An epidemiological study of cutaneous leishmaniasis in Al-jabal Al-gharbi, Libya



Abdellatif MZ, El-Mabrouk K, Ewis AA.


Korean J Parasitol. 2013 Feb;51(1):75-84. doi: 10.3347/kjp.2013.51.1.75. Epub 2013 Feb 18.


Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is an endemic parasitic infection in the Mediterranean region, including Libya and its Al-jabal Al-gharbi province. We aimed at studying the occupational relevance as well as other epidemiological aspects of CL. We investigated 140 CL cases who attended at Gharyan outpatient polyclinic during a period of 6 months in 2009. CL infection was clinically diagnosed and confirmed by demonstration of Leishmania parasites on smears from lesions. Our findings showed that males were more affected than females (P=0.04), and people above 10-years were more affected than younger ones (P=0.0001). A significant percent of CL cases belonged to Al-Kawasem subprovince (P=0.0001). Farm-related activities were the most frequent occupations among CL cases (P=0.04). In addition to farm workers, housewives and students are at risk groups since they are engaged at farm activities. Moreover, those who have occupations that require staying outdoors for a part of night, e.g., policemen, are also at risk. Compared to children, adult CL patients had multiple lesions (P=0.001) that were more prevalent in their upper and lower extremities than the face (P=0.0001). We conclude that CL is a major health problem in Al-jabal Al-gharbi province of Libya. The presence of rodents and sandflies makes it a suitable environment for Leishmania to spread in an endemic epidemiological pattern. Being engaged in farming activities or outdoor occupations increases the risk of infection. Various clinical patterns of CL suggest the presence of more than 1 species of Leishmania at Al-jabal Al-gharbi province. We propose that the 2 species responsible for CL in this area are L. major and L. tropica. Further investigations to identify the leishmanial species responsible for CL at Al-jabal Al-gharbi together with adoption of preventive and control programs are needed.

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Link/DOI: 10.3347/kjp.2013.51.1.75