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Health Surveillance and Disease Management / Communicable Diseases / Leishmaniasis

Leishmaniasis Photo Gallery: Affected Persons and Risk Areas

Leishmaniasis is possibly the most complicated vector-borne tropical disease in the world in terms of etiology and genomics. There are no cheap drugs to treat the disease and not enough understanding of its peculiarities. Leishmaniasis affects vast areas of the Americas and puts millions of people at risk. Even worse, those affected by it tend to be the most vulnerable, the poor and indigenous peoples who live in isolated rural areas or in shantytowns on the fringes of large cities where access to health services is scarce. It is severely debilitating and exacts an economic toll on both individuals and their families and society at large. Cutaneous leishmaniasis causes permanent disfigurement, while visceral leishmaniasis—which causes enlargement of the liver and spleen (hepatosplenomegaly)—is often fatal. Young age being a risk factor, children are especially hard hit by this form.

The thumbnail photos below in GIF are linked to the JPG versions in their original, larger size.

affected child
Toddler with cutaneous leishmaniasis, the most common form.
affected child
Above and next: Little girls with cutaneous leishmaniasis.
affected child

occupational hazard for disease
Bottom: Natural uncut forests are transmission sites. People who collect rubber or clear such areas for agriculture are prone to infection. (WHO/TDR/Lainson, Wellcome Trust)
verrocous leishmaniasis
Man with verrocous leishmaniasis, which produces wartlike projections on the skin.
mucocutaneous leishmaniasis

mucocutaneous leishmaniasis
Men with mucocutaneous leishmaniasis.
visceral leishmaniasis
Two young boys suffering visceral leishmaniasis, with distended abdomens due to hepatosplenomegaly. (WHO/TDR/Marsden, Wellcome Trust)
Boy from Yanomami tribe with visceral leishmaniasis (lines show extent of liver and spleen enlargment).


Homesites in newly cleared forest areas near Rio de Janeiro that expose settlers to the vector. (WHO/TDR/Mark Edwards)
affected family
Family with visceral leishmaniasis
at-risk housing
At-risk rural housing where exposure to sandflies is constant and vast and vector control is extremely difficult to achieve.
at-risk housing
Homes built in newly cleared forest areas (here, outside Rio de Janeiro) expose settlers to the sandflies that transmit leishmaniasis.
A shantytown, another environment where infection proliferates due to inadequate housing and lack of sanitation.

Photos of vector, parasite, and reservoirs   |   TDR Image Library
PAHO Leishmaniasis Page

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