Meanwhile, proposed state measure would allow Texas to deport migrants. Unfortunately, Texans cannot deport the sand flies infested with imported parasites.
A flesh-eating parasite known as Leishmania mexicana was once found mainly in subtropical and tropical parts of the globe.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports the parasite now likely spreading locally through some sand flies native to the southern U.S. and causing the disfiguring disease leishmaniasis.
Skin sores caused by Leishmania mexicana typically erupt weeks to months after people are bitten by an infected fly. The parasite’s lesions can last for years, the CDC says, leading to scarring in its wake.
Hospitals have some options for drugs to use in trying to treat patients suffering from this disease caused by the parasite, which doctors call cutaneous leishmaniasis, though the CDC says not all cases require treatment with medications to combat the parasite.
No vaccine is available for leishmaniasis in humans.
The immediate concern triggered by the discovery is raising awareness of the parasite, officials say, which now appears to be “endemic” in Texas as well as some southern border states.
The fact that the cases of leishmaniasis were from locally sourced flies was confirmed through genetic testing.
One epidemiologist reviewed the challenges of trying to prevent sand fly bites, which lead to infestation by the parasite. It turns out Leishmania mexicana targets the nerves of the skin.
Sand flies are tiny tan flies — about the quarter of the size of a mosquito — that live in warm areas, usually those that are rural and forested. In other parts of the world, they are known to transmit a parasite — a single celled organism — that causes an infectious disease called leishmaniasis. They’re most active at night, and they’re so tiny they can slip through ordinary mosquito nets on tents or window screens.
“Sometimes you don’t even notice that you’ve been bitten,” said Dr. Mary Kamb, a medical epidemiologist at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, one of the few labs in this country that can distinguish the species of Leishmania parasite that has infected a person.
…“People could be asymptomatic and not develop anything, but when people are symptomatic, they develop ulcers on their skin and sometimes it starts like a little tiny volcano with a crater in it,” Kamb said. These sores often erupt near the site of a recent bite. The parasite disables nerves in the skin, so the sores generally are not painful but tend to scar and can be disfiguring, especially if they occur on a person’s face.
According to the CDC, very severe cases can be fatal.
The skin sores of cutaneous leishmaniasis usually heal on their own, even without treatment. But this can take months or even years, and the sores can leave ugly scars. Another potential concern applies to some (not all) types of the parasite found in parts of Latin America: certain types might spread from the skin and cause sores in the mucous membranes of the nose (most common location), mouth, or throat (mucosal leishmaniasis). Mucosal leishmaniasis might not be noticed until years after the original sores healed. Ensuring adequate treatment of the cutaneous infection may help prevent mucosal leishmaniasis.
If not treated, severe (advanced) cases of visceral leishmaniasis typically are fatal.
Now, why would a tropical disease become endemic to the American Southwest, which isn’t exactly lush and green? I have thoughts:
WATCH: The continuous arrival of 100 to 200 migrants daily at the Eagle Pass, Texas border shows no signs of stopping. pic.twitter.com/25lMLVBDlp
— Insider Corner (@insiderscorner) October 20, 2023
The situation in Texas is so bad lawmakers in this state gave initial approval to legislation that would create a new state-level offense for illegally entering the state from a foreign nation and allow officers to order migrants to leave the country, effectively deporting them.
House Bill 4 would empower peace officers to “remove” a person detained for entering illegally by transporting them to a port of entry and “ordering the person to return” instead of arresting them. If the person refuses the order, they would be charged with a second-degree felony.
“The Biden Administration continues to ignore the repeated demands for aggressive prosecution of illegal entry offenses and refuses to protect border states against invasion,” the bill’s author David Spiller, R-Jacksboro, said in a statement. “This landmark bill allows Texans to protect Texas, to send illegal immigrants back, and to incarcerate those that refuse to leave.”
Unfortunately, Texans cannot deport the sand flies infested with imported parasites.DONATE
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