Skip to main content UVA Health logo of UVA Health
Healthy Balance

Researchers Find Arthritis Drug Effective Against “Baghdad Boil”

The research world calls it cutaneous leishmaniasis, but it’s become so common among U.S. troops serving in Iraq that they have dubbed it the “Baghdad Boil.” This unhealing skin sore is caused by sand fly bites that become infected with parasites.

Baghdad boil researchers
Some of the UVA “Baghdad Boil” research team: John S. Lazo, PhD, Elizabeth Sharlow, PhD, lab tech/manager Stephanie Leimgruber and undergraduate student Jennifer Ahn

Treatment usually involves an injection into the open sore and is very painful, sometimes ineffective and sometimes fatal.

UVA School of Medicine researcher Elizabeth R. Sharlow, PhD, says this poorly understood ailment is “one of the most neglected of the neglected diseases.”

But Sharlow, colleagues at UVA and the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research found an arthritis drug, Auranofin, that treats the boil.

Tags: research

Reply & View Comments Search Submit

Subscribe for Updates

Get stories & health tips every week