Cutaneous and mucocutaneous leishmaniasis: Clinical perspectives

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Leishmaniasis is endemic in 98 countries and territories, with 1.2 million new cases per year, making it a worldwide concern. The deadly visceral form is a leading cause of death from tropical parasitic infections, second only to malaria. Leishmaniasis appears to be increasing in many countries because of extended urbanization. The disease reservoir includes small mammals; parasite transmission occurs via bite of the female phlebotomine sandfly. Disease manifestations vary and largely depend upon the Leishmania species acquired. It may be first evident with a range of findings—from a localized cutaneous ulcer to diffuse painless dermal nodules—or, in the mucocutaneous form, ulceration of the oropharynx. In the potentially deadly visceral form, the internal organs and bone marrow are affected.

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