Leishmaniasis is a parasitic disease spread by the bite of infected sand flies. There are several different forms of leishmaniasis. The most common are cutaneous and visceral. The cutaneous type causes skin sores. The visceral type affects internal organs such as the spleen, liver and bone marrow. People with this form usually have fever, weight loss and an enlarged spleen and liver.
Leishmaniasis is found in parts of about 88 countries. Most of these countries are in the tropics and subtropics. It is possible but very unlikely that you would get this disease in the United States. But you should be aware of it if you are traveling to the Middle East or parts of Central America, South American, Asia, Africa or southern Europe.
The best way to prevent the disease is to protect yourself from sand fly bites. If not treated, leishmaniasis can be serious. Visceral disease can be deadly.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
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|Date last updated: 26 August 2008
Topic last reviewed: 24 July 2008