Assessment and treatment of cutaneous leishmaniasis in the emergency department
evidence and practice    

Assessment and treatment of cutaneous leishmaniasis in the emergency department

Stephen McGhee Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs and Associate Professor of Clinical, School of Nursing & Health Studies, University of Miami, Coral Gables Florida, United States
Neil Angus Senior Lecturer, University of the Highlands and Islands, Inverness, Scotland
Alan Finnegan Professor of Mental Health, University of Chester, Chester, England
LaToya Lewis-Pierre Assistant Professor of Clinical, School of Nursing & Health Studies, University of Miami, Coral Gables Florida, United States
Johis Ortega Associate Dean, Hemispheric Programs, School of Nursing & Health Studies, University of Miami, Coral Gables Florida, United States

Why you should read this article
  • To understand how the Leishmania parasite is transmitted to humans

  • To familiarise yourself with the patient groups who are most at risk of contracting cutaneous leishmaniasis

  • To recognise how to prevent, diagnose and manage cutaneous leishmaniasis

Cutaneous leishmaniasis is endemic in more than 70 countries worldwide. It is a non-fatal disease caused by the Leishmania parasite that is transmitted to humans via bites of infected female sandflies. Cutaneous leishmaniasis causes skin lesions on areas of exposed skin, such as the face and limbs, which often produce scarring and atrophy. If untreated, cutaneous leishmaniasis can develop into mucocutaneous leishmaniasis, which is potentially life-threatening. Furthermore, patients with cutaneous leishmaniasis commonly experience psychosocial issues such as anxiety, distress, stigma and rejection. Cutaneous leishmaniasis is spreading outside of its traditional endemic areas because of the effects of environmental changes such as urbanisation and climate change. In the UK, healthcare professionals may encounter the disease in migrants from endemic areas, members of the armed forces, tourists and expatriates. Therefore, emergency nurses need to be able to assess and support patients who present with symptoms suggestive of cutaneous leishmaniasis. This article provides an overview of the epidemiology, aetiology, pathophysiology, clinical presentation, diagnosis, treatment and prevention of the disease.

Emergency Nurse. doi: 10.7748/en.2020.e1993

Peer review

This article has been subject to external double-blind peer review and has been checked for plagiarism using automated software

Correspondence

stephenmcghee@miami.edu@stephen37929091

Conflict of interest

None declared

McGhee S, Angus N, Finnegan A et al (2020) Assessment and treatment of cutaneous leishmaniasis in the emergency department. Emergency Nurse. doi: 10.7748/en.2020.e1993

Accepted 24 September 2019

Published online: 04 February 2020