Cutaneous Leishmaniasis Cases in Nizip, Turkey After the Syrian Civil War

SALMAN I. S., Vural A., ÜNVER A., Sacar S.

MIKROBIYOLOJI BULTENI, vol.48, no.1, pp.106-113, 2014 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 48 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2014
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, TR DİZİN (ULAKBİM)
  • Page Numbers: pp.106-113
  • Çanakkale Onsekiz Mart University Affiliated: Yes


Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL), seen endemically in many countries, is a widespread protozoon disease all around the world. The neighboring countries of Turkey namely Iran, Iraq and Syria are highly endemic regions for CL, and more than 98% of the cases in Turkey are reported from South and Southeastern Anatolian regions. The aim of this study was to detect the prevalence of CL in Nizip, a district of Gaziantep province of southeastern Turkey, for three and half year period and to call attention to the dramatic increase of CL cases observed after the Syrian civil war. A total of 416 samples obtained from clinically suspected CL patients (of them 341 were Syrian refugees) who were admitted to Nizip State Hospital between January 1(st) 2010 and March 19(th) 2013 were included in the study. Lesion samples were collected according to the notice issued by Turkish Ministry of Health and Giemsa-stained smears were examined under the microscope (x1000). Samples from 77 patients (18.5%) yielded positive results with the observation of Leishmania amastigote forms. Fourty-seven (61%) of patients were female and 30 (39%) were male. Of the positive patients 52 (67.5%) belonged to 0-19 age group, 13 (16.9%) 20-39 and 12 (15.6%) 40-60 age groups. In the evaluation of the lesion characteristics, 33 (43%) patients had single and 44 (57%) had multiple lesions with a distribution mainly on face, arm and lower extremities, in a decreasing order. The period of time for the development of the lesions varied from 1.5 month to one year with the mean value of 3.4 months. There was no statistically significant relationship between the age and gender of patients, and the characteristics (quantity, distribution and time of occurence) of lesions (p> 0.05). The number of domestic and Syrian CL cases detected in Nizip in the years of 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 (the first three months) were as follows; 1 and 0, 2 and 0, 7 and 0, 5 and 62, respectively. So a total of 62 (80.5%) and 15 (19.5%) of CL patients were found to be Syrian refugees and Turkish citizens, respectively. Since the number of the cases admitted to the hospital was significantly low in comparison to the total population of refugees living in the camps, it was assumed that the real incidence of CL was much higher than determined. The data obtained in this study revealed that Nizip and the surroundings which have already had favourable climate and vector potential for CL, exhibited a higher threat for the spread of the disease following the hosting of the refugees. Thus implementation of effective prevention and control measures should be taken into consideration implemented in that specific area.