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Antony D.M. Bryceson

, and Diana N.J. Lockwood

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date: 28 February 2021

Leishmaniasis is caused by parasites of the genus Leishmania, which are transmitted to humans from human or animal reservoirs by the bites of phlebotomine sandflies. In places the disease is common and important, with perhaps 500,000 cases of visceral leishmaniasis and 1.5–2 million cases of cutaneous leishmaniasis worldwide each year. Diagnosis is by demonstration of leishmania organisms in tissue smears or biopsy material by microscopy, culture, or detecting leishmaniai DNA by polymerase chain reaction. As an imported disease, cutaneous leishmaniasis is common in travellers, military personnel, and immigrants coming from endemic areas, while the diagnosis of the less common visceral leishmaniasis is frequently overlooked. Prevention is by controlling reservoir hosts and sandfly vectors, or by avoiding bites by vectors. There is no vaccine.

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