‘Flesh-Eating’ Parasites Are Reported in Texas – They Could Damage Your Skin

Mark Star

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Experts predict more than 25 million people will be exposed to these parasites by 2080.

Every summer, millions of people flock to Gulf Coast beaches. In Texas, different stories have surfaced about flesh-eating parasites infecting beachgoers. The name of this parasite is Leishmania. Experts say that these parasites are not only present in Texas but also in Florida and Oklahoma.

What Researchers Have to Say?

Researchers say that by 2080, more than 25 million people might get exposed to Leishmania.

Climate change has a strong link with the emergence of zoonotic disease.

Víctor Sánchez-Cordero, an ecology professor at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, told a news website.

There is the possibility that there will soon be cases of human leishmaniasis in the U.S. where before [they] did not exist.

Leishmania is commonly found in tropical, subtropical, and southern Europe. It has spread in the United States, with Texas, Florida, and Oklahoma being the major states where it is present. It can spread through bites of sand flies, which are only about one-fourth the size of mosquitoes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), these creatures have not entered the United States all of a sudden. It took them several decades to appear in different parts of the country.

Damage to the Human Skin

In 2014, a healthy 27-month-old developed lesions on the right upper eye and lower eyelids. A study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases reveals that after months of testing, the boy was found to have been affected by Leishmania. The disease that is caused by this parasite is called cutaneous leishmaniasis. More than 20 species of Leishmania cause skin problems. These parasites are transmitted to humans through the bites of different flies, especially sand flies. They can also affect animals. Sandflies thrive on hot sandy beaches and in rural areas, and they have been particularly abundant in Texas and Florida.

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