Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is a life-threatening disease transmitted by sand flies. Between 3,700 and 7,400 people in Ethiopia are affected annually, especially in the northern, agricultural areas with favorable climate and environment for the distribution of suspended bodies. A study published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases by Rebecca Coulborn of the Epicenter of France and colleagues suggests that the transitional populations in Ethiopia may be particularly vulnerable to the acquisition and death of VL infections.
Transitional populations may also face greater barriers to accurate diagnosis.
Without treatment, VL is almost always lethal and may increase the risk of transmission to others. Using qualitative methods, researchers have sought to learn more about the exposure of mobile VL workers and the barriers to diagnosis and treatment. A sample of mobile workers, VL patients, community leaders and healthcare workers participated in focus groups and in-depth interviews to discuss VL on migrant workers, including questions about disease risk and access to health care.
The authors found that mobile workers were exposed to sand flies due to sleeping out and the uncoordinated use of protective clothing and bed mattress in endemic VL regions. Once infected with VL, the symptoms could be misdiagnosed or not detected due to the lack of diagnostic test kits available in rural health centers. Although the research sample included only 137 participants, it is the first of its kind in Ethiopia. Researchers suggest that their results may lead to interventions tailored to the particular healthcare needs of mobile populations and other people at risk for VL: "Our results can provide strategies that allow for prior diagnoses and better prognosis for patients with VL ".
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- Rebecca Marie Coulborn, Tesfay Gebregzabher Gebrehiwot, Martin Schneider, Sibylle Gerstl, Cherinet Adera, Mercè Herrero, Klaudia Porten, Margriet den Boer, Koert Ritmeijer, Jorge Alvar, Abrahim Hassen, Afework Mulugeta . Obstacles to access to diagnosis and care of visceral leishmania among seasonally mobile workers in Western Tigray, North Ethiopia: Qualitative study. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 2018; 12 (11): e0006778 DOI: 10.1371 / journal.pntd.0006778
Cite This Page:
PLOS. "Moving workers in northern Ethiopia are vulnerable to the transmission of visceral leishmania." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, November 8, 2018.
PLOS. (2018, November 8). Moving workers in northern Ethiopia are vulnerable to the transmission of visceral leishmania. ScienceDaily. Retrieved on 10 November 2018 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181108142437.htm
PLOS. "Moving workers in northern Ethiopia are vulnerable to the transmission of visceral leishmania." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/11/181108142437.htm (access on November 10, 2018).