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Am J Trop Med Hyg. 2019 Feb;100(2):306-310. doi: 10.4269/ajtmh.18-0643.

Eligibility for Local Therapies in Adolescents and Adults with Cutaneous Leishmaniasis from Southwestern Colombia: A Cross-Sectional Study.

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Universidad Icesi, Cali, Colombia.
Centro Internacional de Entrenamiento e Investigaciones Médicas (CIDEIM), Cali, Colombia.
Yale School of Public Health, New Haven, Connecticut.
European Vaccine Initiative, UniversitätsKlinikum Heidelberg, Heidelberg, Germany.


Local therapies have been proposed as safe and effective alternatives to systemic drugs in cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL), especially among less severe cases. However, they are not widely available and used in endemic places, including Colombia, which has a high burden of disease. Further complicating the uptake of local therapies is that different treatment guidelines have been established by the World Health Organization (WHO) and Pan American Health Organization (PAHO). Using data from a large referral center in Colombia, we determined the proportion of patients who would be eligible for and potentially benefit from local therapies according to both international guidelines. The sample included 1,891 confirmed cases of CL aged ≥ 12 years, mostly infected with Leishmania Viannia panamensis (91%, n = 601/660), between 2004 and 2014. Overall, 57% of the sample had one lesion, whereas another 31% had two to three lesions. For 74% of patients, all lesions were in an area other than head or neck. The maximum lesion size was ≤ 3 cm for 58% and < 5 cm for 88% of the sample. Based on our data, up to 56% of patients could have been eligible for local therapies according to the WHO criteria. By contrast, only 23% were eligible according to the more restrictive PAHO criteria. Regardless, these data suggest that a substantial proportion of CL patients in Colombia may benefit from local therapies given their relatively mild presentation of disease and low risk of complications. Individualized risk-benefit assessment and guideline adjustments may increase local therapy eligibility and benefit a large number of patients.

[Available on 2020-02-01]

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