Dont watch. If youve recently had lunch, … Laura Gaither and her family are enjoying a beautiful sunny day in Panama City Beach. Florida., The weather is perfect, the water is warm. Theres. Only one problem, the family is being attacked by flesh eating parasites and dont even know it.. It started as a slight irritation. Glancing down Laura spotted small black insects on her legs, which she quickly swept away.. She thought nothing more of it until the next morning, when she woke up to numerous small red bumps all along her legs.. Her five children also had the same small bumps and after asking locals, they calmed her worries, letting her know, theyd likely just been bitten by common sand. Fleas. Every beach goer in the United States has occasionally had to deal with the mildly, irritating bite of a sand. Flea so Laura figured, it was no big deal.. She couldnt possibly imagine how wrong she was. The bites, grew red and hardened akin to a mosquito bite. They burned and itched and when they refused to heal, Laura began to really worry. A month later, the bites were still present and were now drying out and splitting Open resulting in slight bleeding and scabbing. Taking her children to the pediatrician, he reassured Laura that it was nothing more than eczema.. However, over the next few days, the bites now becoming open, sores, worsened to the point that she had to rush her youngest daughter to the emergency room.

. The doctors were perplexed with the bites and tested her child for fungal and bacterial infections.. With the labs coming back negative, the family was prescribed, antifungal and steroid topical creams.. These would not help, however, and gradually the wounds grew, larger and larger, becoming ever more painful.. With the doctors baffled as to the cause, Laura took matters into her own hands and began to research, her symptoms, online.. To her amazement, she discovered that her scabby pus filled ulcers closely resembled a condition commonly reported in the tropical regions of the world. Leishmaniasis commonly affects people living in warm tropical climates.. The disease first infects smaller mammals, such as rodents, who are then fed on by sand flies, who transmit the disease to a human with their bite.. The female sandfly requires blood to produce eggs and, as she greedily sips upon a human host, she drops off her microscopic parasite passenger directly into the bloodstream.. Typically, the disease affects those living in tropical climates and is often rampant amongst the poor or those without access to good medical care or who have a weak immune system.. Three main forms of the disease exist. Visceral leishmaniasis – is almost certainly fatal if left untreated. With a 95 mortality, rate. Symptoms include random bouts of fever, weight loss, enlargement of the spleen and liver and anaemia. Cutaneous. Leishmaniasis is the most common form of the disease and causes skin lesions, which can lead to permanent scarring.. Luckily, for Laura Gaither, this is the variant that her and her children were exposed to or surely her and her children wouldve run.

The risk of death. ANIMATORS USE PHOTO httpswww.ajtmh.orgviewjournalstpmd756full 1074fig1.jpg Mucocutaneous leishmaniasis is the much more rare variant of the disease.. This variant aggressively attacks and devours the mucous membranes of the nose mouth and throat, with devastating consequences for the sufferer. Dont stress out too much, because most of these cases occur in Bolivia, Brazil, Ethiopia and Peru.. Laura Gaither returned to her doctor and explained her discovery, but both her childrens pediatrician and the doctors at the emergency room refused to believe that she and her family had contracted leishmaniasis. With no recent travel abroad to a tropical country. There simply was no way that they couldve come in contact with this dangerous disease, which was almost unheard of in the US. At the time. Ignored by her doctors prescribed treatments failed to stop her growing ulcers.. The parasites inside of her were devouring her flesh, as her immune system desperately tried to stop the onslaught. As Lauras knee worsened. She pressured her doctor to test for leishmaniasis, but the biopsy came back inconclusive further frustrating Lauras efforts to find treatment. Lucky for her. After three months of suffering, the wounds began to heal on their own as her and her childrens immune systems turned the tide. On the parasitic invader., Ultimately, Laura would have no answer for what truly caused her horrifying flesh eating episode, but new research shows that not only did Laura likely have leishmaniasis but that she may have been the warning bell for a coming onslaught soon to overtake America.

. A tropical disease, unheard of north of Mexico cases of leishmaniasis have now been confirmed in Texas and Oklahoma.. This flesh eating invader has officially made landfall in the United States and scientists estimate it will eventually push as far north as Canada., But why? The answer is, as it usually is, these days: global warming. As global temperatures soar the habitable zone of leishmaniasis and its hosts continues to expand ever northward. Once limited to the tropical belt. Around the world, leishmaniasis now creeps ever northward entering territory once completely off limits. Whats. Even more terrifying for doctors is that, unlike populations where leishmaniasis is native, Americans have almost no natural immunity or resistance to the disease.. We are all highly vulnerable and a single bite from an infected sand fly could mean death.. Luckily, for us in North America, however, the variant of the disease pushing north is known as Leishmania mexicana.. This variant mostly results in skin lesions and ulcers, which can heal on their own over time.. Those infected, however, often suffer from very bad scarring. That will last for a lifetime. Still being reported in only small numbers. Scientists were aware of the diseases spread back in 2010 when they undertook a massive study to try and track the disease., The field, researchers, trapped, rodents and sand flies across Texas and northern Mexico. Comparing the location of high concentrations of leishmaniasis, infected animals and insects with local environmental conditions., This allowed them to develop a very clear picture of the specific environment that the parasite needed to thrive, in which, in turn, helped them use global warming data to predict how the Disease would spread.

Thanks to the warming planet by 2020. The disease was expected to extend all the way to Oklahoma, Kansas, Arkansas and Missouri.. This estimate proved very accurate with Oklahoma, having confirmed cases of leishmaniasis today. By 2080. However, leishmaniasis will have reached all the way to southern Canada, exposing tens of millions with no natural immunities or resistances.. But while the US is facing the milder form of leishmaniasis, which can result in some light to moderate scarring, the more deadly and aggressive forms of the parasite are also on the move. North. Leishmania braziliensis, an even more aggressive form of the parasite, which attacks flesh at an even greater rate can leave massive scars and even be life. Threatening. Historically limited to the warmest areas of Brazil. Scientists were horrified to discover that it had recently moved into Mexico., As global warming accelerates its only a matter of time until it finds its way home to the US. And hot, on its heels, may be even more dangerous forms of the disease, such as the variant That attacks the mucous membranes of the throat and nose which can leave people disfigured for life if they survive. Inexperience with the disease by American doctors, is leading to further complications with those Americans who have contracted leishmaniasis.. Sometimes the doctors can even help the disease wreak havoc without meaning to., As today, most doctors still refuse to believe leishmaniasis can be contracted here at home in the US treatments of the scabbing bleeding ulcers, the parasite causes cannot only be completely useless, but sometimes can even Accelerate the spread of the parasite.

Antibiotics are commonly prescribed which actually inhibits the bodys immune system and leaves it too weak to fight off the parasite. Theres possible good news on the horizon. Though., A vaccine will soon be undergoing clinical trials, but given Americas response to the Covid vaccine, nobody here at the infographics show is confident anyone will bother to get vaccinated even against a flesh eating parasite. Liquid nitrogen is also shown to be effective at stopping the parasite. In its tracks, as affected flesh is flash frozen and enough of the parasite is destroyed to allow the immune system to mop up the rest.. An ancient Mayan treatment, however, is now being investigated for refinement and use. As a medicine. Dealing with the disease for hundreds of years, the Mayans had learned to form a paste out of a local plant which they would then apply to the affected sores and leave on for up to two weeks.. This plant has been shown to have anti parasite properties and could lead to a major breakthrough treatment for leishmaniasis just in time for it to invade the United States in force.. However, right now, Canadians and Americans are finding themselves in a race against time versus this. Parasitic invader., Not only is global warming rapidly accelerating the spread of leishmaniasis, but human activity is only making the problem worse. As humans impact more of the habitat where species that carry leishmaniasis live. Those animals are then forced to migrate and find new homes.

Tearing down forest and jungles filling in swamps and paving over coastal flatlands is displacing all of the species. Leishmaniasis, typically infects and those species are in turn, heading closer and closer to human population. Areas. With no other place to live, infected rodents and other small mammals are moving into our cities and bringing their flesh eating parasites with them.. So can leishmaniasis be stopped, Probably not because humanity has a snowballs chance in hell of doing anything, remotely significant about global warming or habitat destruction., As the world continues to warm and we push ever deeper into the wild places, diseases, parasites and other microscopic horrors once limited To the deepest darkest jungles and swamps are becoming endemic thousands of miles away from their native territories. And with no natural resistances or immunities populations in the US and Canada are frighteningly vulnerable to what might end up becoming the next great pandemic.

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