Leishmania infection is a parasite infection that is frequent in warm, humid environments such as southern Europe and many tropical and subtropical countries—considered a neglected tropical disease (NTD). It is caused by parasitic Leishmania, and phlebotomine sand flies are the vectors of transmission. Leishmaniasis may manifest in a number of ways in people.


There are various types of leishmaniasis in humans. The following are the most prevalent types:

  • Cutaneous leishmaniasis: It causes your skin to ulcerate. This is the most common form of leishmania infection.
  • Mucocutaneous leishmaniasis: A rare type of illness caused by the parasite’s cutaneous form and may occur months after skin ulcers heal.
  • Visceral leishmaniasis: It normally happens two to eight months following a sand fly bite. This has an impact on various bodily organs (usually the liver, bone marrow, and spleen).


Symptoms vary depending on the kind of disease.

For cutaneous leishmaniasis, symptoms may include:

  • Skin sores 
  • Skin ulcers 
  • Swollen glands 

For mucocutaneous leishmaniasis, symptoms may include:

For visceral leishmaniasis, symptoms may include:

  • Fever  
  • Weight Loss 
  • Swollen spleen and liver
  • Anemia 
  • Low white blood cell count
  • Low platelet count


The presence of leishmania infection may be determined by a number of different laboratory tests. In order to diagnose leishmaniasis, your doctor may order one or more of the following tests:

Skin biopsy. An expert will collect a tissue sample from an ulcer on your nose, mouth, or skin. This test may aid in the diagnosis of cutaneous or mucosal leishmaniasis.

Needle biopsy. A tissue will be extracted from your bone marrow, spleen, or lymph nodes using a needle. This method is the most accurate for identifying visceral leishmaniasis.

Blood tests (serology). A physician may occasionally examine your blood for signs of a Leishmania infection. Blood tests are frequently ineffective for detecting a current Leishmania infection.  


Anti-parasitic drugs are available to treat leishmaniasis. The precise treatment prescribed by a physician is determined by the kind of leishmaniasis you have. Medication may take several forms, such as tablets, cream or lotion, or liquids.

Among the medications used to treat leishmaniasis are:

  • Amphotericin
  • Miltefosine
  • Sodium stibogluconate
  • Paromomycin

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