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Social media helps diagnose parasitic disease in teen travelers

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A new report details how physicians and patients used social media to help diagnose cutaneous leishmaniasis in a group of teens who traveled on a youth adventure trip to Israel. Their posts quickly brought the cluster to the attention of the teens and their parents, leading to prompt recognition of the cause of their skin lesions and appropriate treatment.

People with cutaneous leishmaniasis develop skin sores after being infecting with Leishmania parasites, which are spread by the bite of sand flies.

"Our findings highlight the growing role of social media in medicine for facilitating communication and crowd sourcing a diagnosis for patients," said Dr. Kanokporn Mongkolrattanothai, lead author of the Pediatric Dermatology report.

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