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Digital Imaging in Cutaneous Leishmaniasis

Shiraz Jamal khan

Assistant Professor of Medicine, Gomal Medical College, D.I. Khan

Dr Fazal Raheem

Pathologist, DHQ Hospital, Timergera

Syed Muneeb

Senior Registrar and Nephrologist, Gomal Medical College, D.I. Khan






Digital imaging was first devised by NASA to change analog imaging from space missions to more meaningful digital images which could be fed into computers and interpreted later[1],[2]. In medicine this technology is useful in computed tomography and magnetic resonance imaging besides many others which cannot exist in the realm of conventional photography of analog imaging.



It has a lot of advantages over conventional 35mm photography which has also served the arena of medicine for years:

1.     It can be used with computer and so archiving, storing, sharing and combining with patient’s information is easy.

2.     Easily reproducible and shared over long distances by e-mail.

3.     Easily manageable for non professional photographers.

4.     Easily manageable by the busy clinicians.

5.     Operative cost and labor is less.

6.     Cornerstone of telemedicine[3] and automated digital analysis.




Digital images are composed of Pixels or picture-cells which are the basic building block of digital imaging. The intensity of the color of each cell in a picture is mapped into bits and a digital approximation is obtained from this mapped image. This is conventionally called a “bitmapped” image. Pixel has two values; the number of pixels gives us an idea of the size of image. The density of pixels gives us information about the quality of the image.

In digital camera, instead of the film, a silicon chip is used. This is called charge coupled device or CCD. This CCD has a grid of pixels that react to light and records the respective pixel on that grid. Light is converted into voltage (analog) and the computer in the digital camera converts this voltage into zeroes and ones (digital). This camera then transforms these into pictures for its LCD screen or transfers it into another larger computer for further.




We organized a Leishmaniasis diagnostic camp at Watangi, Tehsil Blambat, and District Dir on Sunday August 9, 2001[4]. The village is situated at the right bank of Panjkora River at a height of 3,400 feet and about 25 kilometers from Timergara. Patients with active lesions were included as subjects. Parameters like name, age, sex and site of lesions were entered into a register. We put these patients into 6 age groups each of 10 years, from 0-10 years, 11-20 years, and up to 60 years. Photographs of the lesions were taken with the Intel Digital Camera. Some of these images are given in these figures:



















1.     Rouse DJ, Winfield DL, Canada SC. NASA spin-offs to bioengineering and medicine. Acta Astronaut 1991; 25:103-10.

2.     Prasad S, Roy B. Digital Photography in Medicine.J Postgrad Med 2003;49:332-336

3.     Benger J, Lock A, Cook J, Kendall J. The effect of resolution, compression, color depth and display modality on the accuracy of accident and emergency telemedicine. J Telemed Telecare 2001; 7:6-7. 

4.     Fazal Rahim, Shiraz Jamal, Fazal Raziq, Muhammad Uzair, Bakht Sarwar, Hazrat Ali, Mohammad Sherin. An outbreak of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis in a village of district Dir,



  IFAD logo

Dir Area Support Project                                                                    

Contact information

Mr Rahimullah
Project Manager
Dir Area Support Project
Timergara, Dir, NWPF
Tel: +92 9359250156
+92 9359250158
Fax: +92 9359250154

Poverty is widespread and migration is common in this largely mountainous area. Farms are very small and social infrastructure is poor. Although natural resources are limited, there is a good potential for increasing crop and livestock production through new and improved irrigation, crop diversification and better cropping techniques and animal health practices.

The project works to improve the living conditions of poor smallholder farmers, tenant farmers and landless people, including herder families belonging mainly to non-indigenous tribes and to groups of Afghan refugees, who are among the poorest people in the area. Project goals are to:

  • introduce agricultural technologies and land-use systems to increase productivity and prevent erosion
  • provide basic skills training to young people
  • improve roads to provide better access between villages and to major markets in the district
  • improve water supply

Source: IFAD



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