A flesh-eating parasite that was once thought to be mostly dangerous only to travelers is spreading stateside through sand flies.
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According to officials, the discovery has caused immediate worry and increased awareness of the parasite, which is now thought to be "endemic" in Texas and some southern states.
According to the World Health Organization:
"Cutaneous leishmaniasis causes skin lesions, mainly ulcers, on exposed parts of the body. These can leave life-long scars and cause serious disability or stigma. About 95% of CL cases occur in the Americas, the Mediterranean basin, the Middle East and central Asia."
Leishmania Mexicana skin sores usually appear weeks to months after a person is bitten by an infected fly. According to the CDC, the parasite can leave scars behind from its sores, which can linger for years.

North Dakota had exactly one encounter with the disease around a decade ago.

A 27-month-old child who was generally healthy had solitary lesions on his right upper and lower eyelids in June 2012.

After receiving several cycles of oral and topical antibiotic medication, the upper eyelid lesion healed over the next 18 months. However, the lesion on the lower eyelid continued, exhibiting erythema and swelling on occasion, and in November 2013, it grew larger.

The boy was born in Grand Forks, North Dakota, in March 2010. His parents, who had all relocated to the country from Nepal in 2009, were his brother's older brother and his mother, who was in good health. The family could not remember seeing or getting bitten by sandflies.

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Gallery Credit: AirBnB

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