Ethiopian Journal of Health Sciences

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CASE REPORT- Vaginal Leech Infestation: A Rare Cause of Hypovolumic Shock In Postmenopausal Woman

T Tilahun


BACKGROUND: Human leech infestation is a disease of the poor who live in rural areas and use water contaminated with leeches. Like any other body orifices, vagina can also be infested by leech when  females use contaminated water for bathing and/or douching. Although this condition is very rare in  postmenopausal women, it causes morbidities and mortalities.
CASE DETAILS: A 70 year old Para X (all alive) abortion I mother, postmenopausal for the last 20 years, presented with vaginal bleeding of 3 weeks duration to Gimbie Adventist Hospital, Western Ethiopia. On  examination, she had deranged vital signs and there was a dark moving worm attached to the cervical os. She was admitted with the diagnosis of hypovolumic shock and severe anemia secondary to  postmenopausal vaginal bleeding. After the patient was stabilized with intravenous crystalloids, the leech was removed from the vagina. She was then transfused with two units of whole blood and discharged with good condition on the 3rd post procedure day with ferrous sulphate.
CONCLUSION: Vaginal leech infestation in postmenopausal woman can cause hypovolumic shock and severe anemia. Therefore, in order to decrease morbidities from failure or delay in making the diagnosis, health care providers should consider the possibility of vaginal leech infestation in postmenopausal  woman from rural areas and those who use river water for drinking, bathing and/or douching and  presented with vaginal bleeding. In addition, the importance of using clean water and improving access to safe water should be emphasized.

KEYWORDS: vaginal leech infestation, postmenopausal vaginal bleeding, Ethiopia
AJOL African Journals Online