Ben Fogle has started treatment for Leishmaniasis Vianna, a rather unpleasant skin eating parasite passed by the bite of a sand fly. Ben contracted the parasite while filming in Peru.
Ben currently has a deep lesion an inch in diameter on his arm however Mucocutaneous leishmaniasis produces destructive and disfiguring lesions of the face and left untreated can lead to death.
Mucocutaneous leishmaniasis is treated with a thirty day course of toxic pentavalent antimonials in high dose administered daily by IV infusion. As pentavalent is toxic and classified as a ‘poison’ side effects included aching, arthralgia, fatigue, gastrointestinal upset, elevation of amylase, lipase, and liver enzyme levels, leukopenia, anemia, and electrocardiographic abnormalities. The treatment can be traumatic to the patient, and many are hospitalised for the duration.
Ben is responding well to the course of medication which he is receiving daily by a team of experts at the University College Hospital.
Ben’s health is being monitored closely by a team of doctors and is undergoing a full medical, incluiding ECG’s and blood tests every other day.
‘I am feeling frustrated, but reassured that I am in expert hands, which is more than can be said for the 12 million people who also suffer leishmania in South America and Africa each year, many of whom sadly die’.
‘While the treatment is unpleasant, I am reassured that it has a high success rate and would like to thank all the NHS staff at UCH for their kind, professional care and help especially in these first few difficult days of treatment’.
‘I would like to thank everyone for their kind thoughts and reassure everyone that apart from the rather large hole in one arm and the canula in the other, I am feeling optimistic and looking forward to the completion of the course and heading to Antarctica which I am relieved to say has no skin eating parasites’.