Leishmaniasis - Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
Leishmaniasis is a chronic, often fatal disease. Leishmaniasis is occurring chiefly in Asia. Leishmaniasis may be caused by a protozoan parasite and characterized by irregular fever, enlargement of the spleen and liver, and emaciation. An infection may be transmitted to humans and animals by bloodsucking sand flies. Leishmaniasis may be spread by the bite of the sandfly.Leishmaniasis is also called kala-azar.
Leishmaniasis is associated with low mortality. It has a high morbidity rate. It is estimated that 350 million people are exposed to the disease and approximately 12 million are afflicted worldwide. The global annual incidence is estimated at 1.5 to 2 million new cases per year.
Leishmaniasis can be affected the mucous membranes with a wide range of appearance, most frequently ulcers. It may cause skin lesions that resemble those of other diseases including cutaneous tuberculosis, syphilis, leprosy, skin cancer, and fungus infections. Leishmania, responsible for human leishmaniasis, is a genus of protozoans that have a dimorphic life cycle. They occur in mononuclear phagocytes in the body's defense system and multiply intracellularly, resulting in lysis of host cells.
The protozoan is transmitted from one mammalian host to another by the bite of the sand fly, an avid feeder. It strikes humans primarily at night. Leishmania may also be caused systemic disease with fatal complications. When introduced into the body by the bite of a sandfly, the parasite migrates to the bone marrow, spleen, and lymph nodes.
Cutaneous leishmaniasis, the most common form of infection, manifests as single or multiple ulcerating papules which heal after a few weeks or months, leaving flat, and atrophic scars.
The other symptoms of the leishmaniasis may be included:
Antimony-containing compounds are the principal medications used to treat leishmaniasis. These include:
Pentavalent antimonial compounds are the drugs of choice for treating visceral and cutaneous leishmaniasis.
Sodium stibogluconate 20 mg/kg/day IM or IV once daily for 40 days if the disease was contracted in India and 28 days if contracted elsewhere.
Amphotericin B is employed in cases of resistant strains of VL. Pentamidine is considered a second-line agent, due to increasing resistance and prolonged course of therapy.
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