Kiran Afshan Poster 2024

Kiran Afshan

Asst Prof Kiran Afshan

Quaid-i-Azam University, Pakistan

Epidemiological Distribution of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis in Pakistan


Poster Abstract

Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL), despite not being a life-threatening condition, has a devastating impact on the public health. CL is widely distributed, exhibiting a distinct epidemiological pattern all over the world. The aim of this study was to investigate CL in District Dera Ismail Khan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, and to estimate the risk of epidemics. From 2019 to 2022, 1135 CL patients' epidemiological data were collected from district health facilities. Epidemiological characteristics were recorded, and spatial analysis was done using ArcGIS.

The relationship between CL occurrence and climatic variables was investigated using liner regression analysis. A total of 1135 microscopically confirmed CL positive cases have been reported in the Dera Ismail Khan District over the course of the previous four years. From 2019 (n=423, 37.3%) to 2022 (n=78, 6.9%), CL incidence dropped significantly. CL cases were more common in the D.I.K tehsil (n= 712, 62.7%) and adjacent areas of the district (n=146, 12.6%) then Paharpur (n=109, 9.6%), Paroa (n=80, 7%), Kulachi (n=66, 5.8%) and Daraban (n=22, 1.95). The difference between CL prevalence between tehsil was statistically significant (R=0.57, P=0.001). Males and people under the age of 20 were particularly susceptible. A total of 1204 lesions were identified, with 76.1% of individuals having a single lesion and 23.9% having multiple lesions. Most of the lesions were nodular and ulcerative in nature and were found on exposed body parts such as the lower extremity (34.2%) and the face (30.7%).

A choropleth map revealed an increased incidence of CL in Tehsil D.I.K (63%) and Paharpur (10%). According to a digital elevation model, high altitudes have a lower prevalence of CL. For focal transmission and high risk zones, Inverse Density Weight (IDW) spatial interpolation, focal statistics, cluster, and outlier analysis validated that CL cases were high in D.I.K, Kulachi, and Paharpur tehsils. Increased temperature, relative humidity, and precipitation were not significantly associated with CL infection. The study provided essential details for public health sectors to develop intervention strategies for future CL outbreaks.



After obtaining my PhD in 2014 I have continued to publish in the field of immunoparasitology and genetic susceptibility to disease. My focus has been on the diseases causing health problems within my home country of Pakistan. I am currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Zoology, Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad, Pakistan. My work reflects my interest in the host parasite interaction and using this fine and antigen-specific interaction to develop tools to control disease.  I have reached a critical point in my career where I would like to garner greater cellular and molecular understanding of the immune system and to better understand how to use the immune system as a tool to control disease.