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April 1983

The Leech: Of Dermatologic Interest?

Author Affiliations

Columbia, SC

Arch Dermatol. 1983;119(4):276-277. doi:10.1001/archderm.1983.01650280004003

To the Editor.—  A patient visiting the office of a dermatologist unknowingly deposited an unusual object on the floor. Examination of this most unexpected object disclosed that it was a leech. The patient had no complaint referrable to it and was apparently unaware of its presence. No bleeding point had been noticed.Inquiry of various colleagues indicated little experience or even knowledge of leeches. A review of the literature disclosed the following short statement taken from an article by Heldt1: "The fresh water leeches which occupy a small but important niche in the history of therapeutics are also of interest to the dermatologist." Nothing was found in the dermatologic literature.There is voluminous material available on this subject in nonmedical sources, in journals of biology, zoology, and even biochemistry.2,3 The leech is a species of worm, an annelid (Annelida Hirudinea). Used for therapeutic purposes, it has also been

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