Epidemiology, Pathology and Treatment of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis in Taif Region of Saudi Arabia


Background: Cutaneous leishmaniasis is an annoying and disfiguring disease affecting around 1,500,000 individuals globally. There are endemic pockets of this disease in Taif region. In some patients, lesion often weeps and leads to scar formation. The study was conducted to see the efficacy of fluconazole and itraconazole in the patients of cutaneous leishmaniasis and the effect of these drugs on liver enzymes and kidney markers.

Methods: Positivity of Leishmania was recorded by microscopic examinations of smears. Specific diagnosis for Leishmania major and L. tropica was made with the help of nested polymerase chain reaction. Fluconazole was given at the rate of 200mg/day while itraconazole was given at 150mg/day for six weeks. AST, ALT, creatinine and urea were estimated during medication.

Results: Leishmania major and L. tropica were the species responsible for cutaneous leishmaniasis in Taif region. 81% patients had single lesions, mostly on face followed by hands and legs. 15% of the lesions had bacterial contamination.In terms of efficacy, fluconazole gave slightly better results compared to itraconazole. After 6 weeks of medications, slightly elevated values were recorded for liver enzymes and creatinine.

Conclusion: Transmission of leishmaniasis in Taif region is probably because of poor coverage of residual insecticides spraying at hiding places in pile-ups of rocks and abandoned houses from where sand flies visit nearby houses and cattle sheds during night. Fluconazole and itraconazole may be used for the treatment of cutaneous leishmaniasis with good recovery rate and fewer side effects.

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Khan W, Zakai HA. Epidemiology, Pathology and Treatment of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis in Taif Region of Saudi Arabia. Iran J Parasitol. 1;9(3):365-373.