Scientists are focusing on a dangerous parasite named Leishmania that is threatening over 90 countries. The painful disease has caused numerous victims and while the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Institute estimates that the annual death toll is somewhere around 20.000 – 30.000, other sources believe that 50,000 people die from it each year.
How does this parasite affect you
This parasite can be transmitted via female sandflies bites and there are three different versions of the disease. The most common form is cutaneous leishmaniasis that can create bumpy and cratered lesions. Mucosal leishmaniasis is another variety, that spreads on the linings of the mouth and the throat and other moist parts of the body, scarring the membranes of the mucus.
“People suffer a lot because [leishmaniasis] kills slowly and most of the time it devastates your face,” a parasitology professor at the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais in Brazil has declared.
Leishmaniasis may come to America
Scientists believe that this parasite could appear in America since there have already been people infected with the parasite after visiting infected countries. The sandflies species are only present in tropical and subtropical regions, but with global warming, we can expect these flies in more regions, including America.
And the Georgia Institute of Technology is already working on a vaccine for it. Their latest study revealed that they tested the vaccine on mice and out of 12 vaccinated mice, none of them became sick. However, other 12 mice that were not vaccinated developed the disease.
This is a good sign and it means that a cure for humans can be on its way. However, that requires more time and there have been speculations that the research team does not have enough funding for further research