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Date of last update: 10/12/2017.

Forum Name: Other infections

Question: Avoiding Leishmaniasis

 dnflgmn - Tue Mar 04, 2008 11:09 pm

I'm a 20 yr/old female. Last summer I went to Ecuador for two months and wasn't aware that Leishmaniasis is found there. I plan on going back to Ecuador (mainly the Galapagos and/or the Guayaquil area) for a few weeks this summer and then to Brazil (mainly Rio de Janeiro but I may travel elsewhere) for 6 months. I was wondering if you had any tips on avoiding Leishmaniasis? (I read that Leishmaniasis is spread by sandflies- is it possible/likely that there are sandflies on the beaches in the Galagapagos, Guayaquil area, or Rio de Janeiro that are infected by the parasites that cause Leishmaniasis?)
 Dr. Chan Lowe - Sun Mar 16, 2008 12:20 am

User avatar Hello Dnflgmn,

There is no known medication or vaccine for Leishmaniasis so prevention is important. Treatments do exist if infection occurs but it is obviously best to avoid the infection in the first place.

Prevention basically centers around avoiding bites from the sand fly. This can be done by limiting exposure though wearing long sleeve clothing, using DEET containing bug repellants and trying to stay in areas that have been screened from insects. Clothing can be treated with permethrin (an insecticide).

Sand flies are very small so the screening needs to be smaller than typical bug netting.

Best wishes.

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