Background: An outbreak of cutaneous leishmaniasis occurred among 71 soldiers who had participated in various missions during a 4-month's period in French Guiana. The aims of this study were (i) to describe outbreak and (ii) to determine risk factors of cutaneous leishmaniasis.
Methods: All patients were hospitalised. Cutaneous lesions were biopsied and cultured for species identification. Individual information was collected by a physician or a nurse, using on a standardised, anonymous chart. Data were processed with EpiInfo 6.04 and SAS.
Results: Mean age of the 71 soldiers was about 25.9 years (19-37 years). Twelve soldiers presented 56 lesions due to Leishmania (Viannia) guyanensis (attack rate = 16.9 for 100). Among 56 lesions, 13 lesions were localized on the trunk, usually an unexposed body area. Logistic regression highlighted military exercises in the forest during a high risk period of leishmaniasis transmission (OR = 11.2; p < 0.01), and the young age (OR = 1.33; p = 0.04). Vector control measures were not statistically significant.
Conclusion: Military authorities should restrict deep forest activities during periods of high risk transmission. Vector control measures are essential. Officers should motivate their soldiers and supervise vector control measures. As ecotourism is developing, tourists as well as workers staying in deep forest must be informed of the risk and about vector control measures.