The Leishmanioses

Marina Gramiccia

in Oxford Textbook of Zoonoses

Second edition

Published on behalf of Oxford University Press

ISBN: 9780198570028
Published online July 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199697823 | DOI:

Series: Oxford Textbooks

The Leishmanioses

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  • Public Health and Epidemiology
  • Infectious Diseases
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Leishmanioses are a large group of parasitic diseases range over the intertropical zones of America and Africa, and extend into temperate regions of South America, Southern Europe and Asia. The clinical aspect of the diseases is wide ranging from a simple, self-resolving cutaneous lesion to the potentially fatal visceral leishmaniosis, known as kala-azar. In numerous underdeveloped countries leishmanioses remain a major public health problem representing one of the most neglected diseases. Among 15 well-recognized Leishmania species known to infect humans, 13 have definite zoonotic nature, which include agents of visceral, cutaneous and mucocutaneous forms of the disease in both the Old and New Worlds. Mammal reservoir hosts belong to the marsupalia, edentata, carnivora, hyracoidea, and rodentia, maintaining sylvatic zoonotic foci in the deserts of Africa and Asia, the forests of South and Central America, as well as synanthropic foci in the Mediterranean basin and much of South America. Although the known vectors are all phlebotomine sandflies, these have a wide range of specific habits and habitats. The complexity of this group of infections has only recently been appreciated and is still being worked out. Currently, leishmanioses show a wider geographical distribution than previously known, with increased global incidence of human disease. Environmental, demographic and human behavioural factors contribute to the changing leishmaniosis landscape, which basically include increasing risk factors for zoonotic cutaneous leishmanioses, and new scenarios associated with the zoonotic entity of visceral leishmaniosis. In comparison with the anthroponotic entities of leishmaniosis, limited progresses were made for the control of the zoonotic ones, consisting mainly in new tools developed for the control of L. infantum in the canine reservoir.

Chapter.  9134 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Public Health and Epidemiology ; Infectious Diseases ; Epidemiology

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