Flesh-eating bug could bite Love Island stars

SCANTILY-clad Love Island stars run the risk of a potentially deadly flesh-eating skin disease, experts have warned.
The ITV2 show begins at the start of June and will see a dozen guests looking for romance while holed-up in a Spanish villa for 10 weeks. 
But Mallorca, the island where the show is set, has an ‘under-reported’ issue with ‘leishmaniasis’ – a nasty skin infection which leaves those affected looking like they suffered gunshot wounds. 
The fatal disease is spread through the bites of infected sand flies. 
And because the reality TV stars will be spending hours outside, wearing little in the way of protective clothing,  they could be particularly susceptible. 
Leading UK pharmacist Shamir Patel, of online giant www.chemist-4-U.com explained: “Leishmaniasis is a pretty nasty infection, and it’s also one that’s becoming more and more endemic in Europe. 
“It’s caused by a parasite which attacks the flesh, causing ulcers and fever. It can also damage internal organs. 
“Although it might ruin the fun of Love Island, I’d advise the reality show hopefuls to cover their skin when they can, particularly if they see sandflies hovering around. 
“They should also cover themselves in insect repellent – not expensive aftershave or perfume – in a bid to keep the blood suckers at bay!”
A recent study into Leishmaniasis on Mallorca was conducted by researchers at the Parasitology Laboratory of the Faculty of Pharmacy at the University of Barcelona.
The 2015 paper  described how certain locations were more at risk than others when it comes to sandfly bites. 
Lead author Montserrat Gállego wrote: “This was a study of the distribution of Phlebotomus perniciosus, the species principally responsible for the transmission of leishmaniasis caused by the Leishmania infantum parasite in the Mediterranean region. 
“The study has detected the presence of P. perniciosus throughout the island, with a higher probability at altitudes ranging from 51 to 150 metres above sea level, with adjacent garrigue shrub vegetation, at the edge of or between settlements, and in proximity to sheep farms.”
Worryingly, the Love Island Villa sits in an elevated position three miles to the north west of the town Sant Llorenç des Cardassar, in the east of Mallorca. 
Mr Patel adds: “While we don’t want to give away the precise location of the villa, it’s simple to find using Google Maps software. 
“Looking at the environment in which it sits, those in the Love Island villa do look vulnerable to coming into contact with Leishmaniasis-carrying sandflies.”
Of the 1,882 sand flies caught using sticky traps in the study, 69% were varieties capable of carrying Leishmaniasis. 
Gallego added: “As in other parts of Spain, the disease is under-reported, especially cases of cutaneous leishmaniosis. Cases of human cryptic leishmaniosis have also been described. 
“Little information is available on the origin of cases.”
Mr Patel and the Chemist-4-U team added: “It might take many weeks – or even months – for Leishmaniasis to manifest after the initial infection. 
“That means the Love Islanders might not realise they’ve been infected until long after they return to the UK. 
“Symptoms of the disease typically involve painful open sores and ulcers, which might look like a gunshot wound with a raised edge. 
“The good news is that, once identified, Leishmaniasis is usually successfully treated through programme of drugs.”
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