Friday, May 18, 2012

All about leishmaniasis - part 4: Treatment, prevention and control of Kala Azar

Treatment of Leishmaniasis

The treatment of leishmaniasis depends on the form of the disease (cutaneous, mucocutaneous, or visceral), and may be in the form of tablets or injections. Cutaneous leishmaniasis sometimes heals on its own and may not require treatment.
Patients should consult with their primary health care provider. Some patients may be referred to a specialist, such as a dermatologist or infectious disease specialist. Your health care provider can talk with CDC staff about whether and how you should be treated.

Prevention & Control

The best way for travelers to prevent infection is to protect themselves from sand fly bites. To decrease the risk of being bitten:
Avoid outdoor activities, especially from dusk to dawn, when sand flies generally are the most active.
When outdoors (or in unprotected quarters):
  • Minimize the amount of exposed skin. To the extent that is tolerable in the climate, wear long-sleeved shirts, long pants, and socks; and tuck your shirt into your pants.
  • Apply insect repellent to exposed (uncovered) skin and under the ends of sleeves and pant legs. Follow the instructions on the label of the repellent. The most effective repellents are those that contain the chemical DEET (N,N-diethylmetatoluamide).
Bed nets, repellents, and insecticides should be purchased before traveling and can be found in hardware, camping, and military surplus stores.
When indoors:
  • Stay in well-screened or air-conditioned areas.
  • Keep in mind that sand flies are much smaller than mosquitoes and therefore can get through smaller holes.
  • Spray living/sleeping areas with an insecticide to kill insects.
  • If you are not sleeping in a well-screened or air-conditioned area, use a bed net and tuck it under your mattress. If possible, use a bed net that has been soaked in or sprayed with a pyrethroid-containing insecticide (permethrin or deltamethrin). The same treatment can be applied to screens, curtains, sheets, and clothing (clothing should be retreated after five washings).

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