Background: Zinc is an effective factor in the immune response against infectious agents; its effect on the course of cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is unknown. This study aimed to compare the serum zinc level in patients with acute and chronic CL.
Methods: A descriptive study was conducted on 120 CL cases and controls. This included 30 cases of acute CL (less than one year of lesion recovery), 30 cases of chronic CL (period of illness over one year), and 60 healthy subjects with age and gender proportional to the patients. Volunteers entered the study with knowledge and consent. The serum zinc level was measured by atomic absorption spectrophotometry.
Results: The percentages of people with reduced serum zinc levels in the healthy, acute, and chronic groups were 13.3, 50, and 43.3%, respectively, whereby there was a significant difference between the leishmaniasis groups (acute and chronic) and the control group (p <0.001). However, the mean serum zinc level did not differ significantly between the acute (75.36 ± 15.72 µg/dl) and chronic (73.96 ± 17.98 µg/dl) leishmaniasis groups (P=0.94).
Conclusions: A reduced serum zinc level is associated with symptomatic CL, but does not affect the clinical outcome and recovery.