Squalid stream raises the fear of serious diseases

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RESIDENTS of the La Leala urbanisation in Arroyo de la Miel, Benalmadena, are up in arms over the existence of a potential breeding ground for leishmaniasis parasites in the Arroyo del Saltillo.

The disease is spread via the bite of certain types of sandfly, and the symptoms can be of four main types, with cutaneous forms causing ulcers on the skin, the mucocutaneous form attacking the mucous membranes of the nose, mouth, and throat cavities, and the more dangerous visceral form characterised by high fever,  weight loss, swelling of the spleen and liver, and anaemia.

It is endemic in Spain but infections are mostly limited to dogs. 

Local businessman Jose Prado said that, “It has been years since the stream bed was cleared or fumigated, and now it is full of rats and mosquitoes.”

He has filed an official complaint with the town councils of both Benalmadena and Torremolinos after his 14-month-old grandson contracted the disease while staying at his home during the summer.

Although the child overcame the disease, the Public Health Service of Madrid was obliged to inform the Junta de Andalucia, who allegedly passed it on to Benalmadena and Torremolinos councils in September.   

According to Prado, the municipal health officer in Benalmadena said it is not possible to know where he  contracted the infection, and recommended an “urgent cleaning and sanitation, with subsequent disinfection and pest control in the area.”

Prado believes the councils have failed to act due to ‘no budget’ and ‘expenditure ceilings,’ and is now requesting that it be dealt with as a health emergency.


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