An infectious diseases doctor has warned that the number of cases in Sweden of Leishmaniasis, a parasitic disease which can lead to death, has doubled since the 2015 migrant wave.
“Leishmaniasis is a disease caused by an intracellular protozoan parasite (genus Leishmania) transmitted by the bite of a female phlebotomine sandfly,” according to Medscape.
The parasites that spread the disease are common in the Middle East, Africa and in Mediterranean countries, however it is not normally present in northern Europe.
According to Sara Karlsson Söbirk, an infectious doctor at a hospital in Helsingborg who has studied the issue for 20 years, the number of cases in on the increase.
“We have in a collaboration with the Public Health Authority looked at the number of cases between 1993-2016 and see a peak of 35 cases in 2016, probably a direct consequence of the large refugee wave the year before, when most people are sick from Syria and Afghanistan,” said Söbirk.
She notes that most of the cases were found in people who had emigrated to Sweden or who had traveled in the countries where the parasite was present then returned to Sweden.
The parasites can remain in the body for years before being activated as a result of a weak immune system.
“The attack on internal organs is the most serious form of the disease (visceral leishmaniasis) and usually leads to death if it is not detected and treated in time,” reports FriaTider.
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