Detection of cutaneous leishmaniasis foci in south Ethiopia

Behailu Merdekios, Myrthe Pareyn, Dagimawie Tadesse, Solomon Getu, Bereket Admassu, Nigatu Girma, Herwig Leirs, Jean-Pierre Van Geertruyden, Johan van Griensven

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Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is a major public health problem in Ethiopia. The disease is endemic in Ochollo, a village in southern Ethiopia, but there are no reports of CL in the wider area, although it is ecologically very similar. We conducted a rapid assessment survey in the South Ethiopian Rift Valley and found 100 parasitologically confirmed CL cases in 38 villages not reported endemic for CL. Approximately half of the cases were children (57%), and most lesions occurred on the face (78%) and were older than 6 months (77%). Only 2% of the people was aware of the mode of transmission, and 9% sought modern treatment at a hospital. These preliminary data indicate that CL is much more widespread than previously reported and that the disease might have a large psychosocial impact. Hence, this study calls for larger surveys across the Ethiopian highlands. Additionally, health education and treatment capacity need to be implemented.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)156-158
Number of pages3
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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