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Leishmaniasis, cutaneous

Oriental sore

Leishmania major, L. tropica, L. ssp.


Leishmaniae are protozoa belonging to the family Trypanosomatidae. On clinical grounds, they have been divided into three major groups: cutaneous, mucocutaneous and visceral. They consist of many different species and subspecies. Old World cutaneous leishmaniasis is due mainly to L. major, L. tropica and L. aethiopica.
Leishmaniae are obligate intracellular parasites in host macrophages. They are transmitted to the mammalian host by bites of infected sandflies. Most species have an animal reservoir.

Life cycle of Leishmania spp.

The female vector takes up blood with intracellular amastigotes which undergo morphogenesis in the insect gut and become promastigote forms with a flagellum. After regurgitation of promastigotes during a blood meal of the vector, promastigotes are taken up by host macrophages in which the promastigotes transform to amastigotes and start multiplying.