Leishmaniasis Fears Debunked

 | Fri 20 Mar 2015 08:36 ICT

CityNews – Confusion over sand flies and a connection to leishmaniasis has been debunked by doctors of Maharaj Nakorn Chiang Mai Hospital after concerns the disease had affected over twenty people in Chiang Mai, sparking many to worry on social media.


Leishmaniasis is a disease that causes skin ulcers, fever and internal organ damage and, in some cases, can be transmitted via by bites from parasites such as sandflies.

Despite social media claiming there has been twenty cases recorded in Chiang Mai alone, doctors at Maharaj Nakorn claim that the number of recorded cases have been nominal and do not compare to the claims made online.

The number twenty is thought to be a misinterpretation of the data that spans all recorded history of the hospital, not, as was suggested, this year alone.

After studying the information, Associate Professor Dr Prachya Somboon from the Faculty of Medicine Chiang Mai University found that in the past, this disease was often found to affect workers in countries from the Middle East. There were also records of it in over ten provinces throughout the kingdom.

Thailand does have over 26 species of sandflies, with up to twenty species able to carry and pass on the disease. However, the disease usually affects rodents and hardly ever is successfully transmitted to humans.

Doctors have made it clear that residents need not be alarmed. Although leishmaniasis is a dangerous disease, there have been very few recorded cases in Thailand and the dieses is hard to transmit.

Residents are advised not to be deceived by information published online.