Leishmaniasis: Symptoms & Signs

Medically Reviewed on 11/23/2021

Leishmaniasis is a tropical infectious disease. Leishmaniasis can be confined to the skin, known as cutaneous leishmaniasis, or it may affect the internal organs, known as visceral leishmaniasis or kala-azar.

Signs and symptoms vary according to the type of leishmaniasis that is present. Symptoms and signs can include

Affected skin can appear as large, scaly, ulcerated plaques, ulceration, and dry or weeping painless lesions.

Causes of Leishmaniasis

Leishmaniasis spreads to humans through the bite of infected Phlebotomus sand flies. The causative parasites are known as Leishmania. Many types of Leishmania parasites can cause the disease.

Other leishmaniasis symptoms and signs

  • Distended Abdomen
  • Dry or Weeping Painless Lesions
  • Enlargement of the Liver and Spleen (Hepatosplenomegaly)
  • Fever
  • Large, Scaly, Ulcerated Plaques
  • Low Blood Counts (Pancytopenia)
  • Skin Bumps or Sores That Resemble Acne, Warts, or Psoriasis
  • Ulceration
  • Weight Loss

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References
Jameson, J. Larry, et al. Harrison's Principles of Internal Medicine, 20th Ed. New York: McGraw-Hill Education, 2018.