Cutaneous leishmaniasis in Karak, Pakistan: Report of an outbreak and comparison of diagnostic techniques
A total of 339 patients with clinically suspected cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) were studied from March to April, 2010 in three villages of Karak, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan where an epidemic of the disease was in question. Using polymerase chain reaction (PCR), 78.17% (265/339) were observed having CL. Microscopically, however, only 43.06% (146/339) were diagnosed with the disease. This study reports and confirms epidemic of CL in both gender of all ages in the area. Females (70.94%) were noted to be predominantly affected as compared to males (29%). Clinically, 12.38% of patients had more than three lesions, 29.20% had two lesions, while 58.40% had only single lesion. Most lesions were found on exposed surfaces of the body (predominantly hands, face and feet). The present study confirms that PCR was more sensitive than microscopic examination.
Key words: Epidemic, cutaneous leishmaniasis, polymerase chain reaction (PCR), microscopy, Pakistan.