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Effects of cutaneous leishmaniasis on patients' quality of life.


Introduction: Cutaneous Leishmaniasis (CL) is caused by protozoan parasite called Leishmania. It is endemic in more than 100 countries globally. Despite its vast prevalence and impact on quality of life, it is one of the most neglected tropical dermatological diseases. The CL burden has often been expressed based on the physical disfigurement caused by the disease. However, considering the impact of the disease beyond physical impairment and changes in patients' appearance would help to better understand the disease as a public health problem. The effect of CL on patients' quality of life was determined in this study.

Methods: The data that were related to quality of life were collected using Standard one-week Dermatology Life Quality Index (DLQI) questionnaire. The questions were categorized under seven domains: symptoms & feelings, daily activities, work and school, leisure, personal relationships, and treatment. Each question was scored on a three-point scale: Very much (3), A lot (2), A little (1), Undecided (0), and Not at all (0). The sum of the scores lied between 0 and 48. A higher score shows worse quality of life. The data were entered and analysed using Statistical Package for Social Science 23. Frequencies and proportions were used to describe the data. Differences were considered statistically significant at p < 0.05.

Results: The lives of the majority of CL patients (60.7%) were significantly affected by CL. The quality of life of patients was moderately impacted by CL in 25% of the CL patients. In 32.1% of the CL patients, the effect of CL on patients' quality of life was very large. The quality of one CL patient's life was extremely largely affected. The disease had a small effect on 32.1% of the CL patients. Personal relationship was the most affected domain followed by symptoms and feelings and treatment. Future study including rural regions is required.

Conclusion: The Dermatology Life Quality Index demonstrates that CL has a small to extremely very large negative effect on the quality of life of patients.

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Journal Article
Yizengaw E
Nibret E