The Leishmaniases

The leishmaniases is a group of diseases caused by protozoan haemoflagelates of the genus Leishmania. These protists belong to the family of the Trypanosomatidae (order Kinetoplastida) and are closely related to the trypanosomes. The disease is tranmitted by female sandflies (Phlebotomus or Lutzomya) that feed on the blood of an animal or human host.

Leishmaniasis is a zoonosis. It affects mainly sylvatic animals such as rodents and opossums and domestic animals such as dogs. The disease is prevalent in most tropical and sub-tropical areas of the world, such as East and South-East Asia, the Middle Esat, North and East Africa, the south of Europe (the Mediterranian basin) and Central and South America.

The disease occurs in three different manifestations depending on the region where it occurs and on the parasite: (Click here for the World maps of leishmaniases, 22k)

The different manifestations of Leishmaniasis

Type of leishmaniasis



Leishmania donovani


  Oriental sore,
(Bouton d'orient)




 L. tropica
L. major

Promastigotes of Leishmania


 Chiclero's diseases

 L. mexicana mexicana


 L. braszliensis braszliensis
L. b.peruviensis

The Leishmania vectors

 Insect vector



 Old World


 New World

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Last updated: 8 October 1997.

created by :Fred Opperdoes