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August 1992

Viscerotropic Leishmaniasis in Persons Returning From Operation Desert Storm—1990-1991

Arch Dermatol. 1992;128(8):1033-1034. doi:10.1001/archderm.1992.01680180025002

From November 1990 through December 1991, seven men among the approximately 500,000 military personnel from the United States who participated in Operation Desert Storm had leishmaniasis involving internal organs diagnosed at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. In at least five of the cases, the species of the infecting parasite was Leishmania tropica (previously known as L. tropica minor), a parasite more commonly associated with cutaneous than with visceral leishmaniasis.

The seven men, whose illnesses were termed viscerotropic leishmaniasis, were a median of 30 years of age (range: 21-40 years). They had served in five different military units throughout the eastern province of Saudi Arabia; some were in urban and others in desert settings. Six of the seven men were symptomatic; the asymptomatic man was identified during an epidemiologic investigation of a unit with a symptomatic person. Symptoms developed a median of 7 months (range: 8 weeks-1 year) after the men

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