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Concept: Cutaneous leishmaniasis

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Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is a major public health problem in Libya. The objective of this study was to investigate, for the first time, epidemiological features of CL outbreaks in Libya including molecular identification of parasites, the geographical distribution of cases and possible scenarios of parasite transmission.

Concepts: Health care, Public health, Health, Epidemiology, Intestinal parasite, Parasitism, Leishmaniasis, Cutaneous leishmaniasis

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Patients with New World cutaneous leishmaniasis (NWCL) caused by Leishmania Viannia are treated with parenteral sodium stibogluconate (SbV) to reduce the risk of development of mucocutanous leishmaniasis. Our centre manages patients with NWCL on an outpatient-basis. This study was conducted to assess the safety and efficacy of this approach.

Concepts: Leishmaniasis, Visceral leishmaniasis, Cutaneous leishmaniasis, Leishmania, Sodium stibogluconate, Leishmania major, Pentavalent antimonial

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Abstract. The occurrence of American cutaneous leishmaniasis (ACL) in areas modified by humans indicates that phlebotomine sand fly vectors breed close to human habitations. Potential peridomiciliary breeding sites of phlebotomines were sampled in an area of transmission of Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis in Southeastern Brazil. Three concentric circles rounding houses and domestic animal shelters, with radii of 20, 40, and 60 m, defined the area to be monitored using adult emergence traps. Of the 67 phlebotomines collected, Lutzomyia intermedia comprised 71.6%; Lutzomyia schreiberi, 20.9%; and Lutzomyia migonei, 4.5%. The predominance of L. intermedia, the main species suspected of transmitting L. (V.) braziliensis in Southeastern Brazil, indicates its participation in the domiciliary transmission of ACL, providing evidence that the domiciliary ACL transmission cycle might be maintained by phlebotomines that breed close to human habitations. This finding might also help in planning measures that would make the peridomiciliary environment less favorable for phlebotomine breeding sites.

Concepts: Leishmaniasis, Cutaneous leishmaniasis, Leishmania, Flies, Fly, Phlebotominae, Phlebotomus, Lutzomyia

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Introduction: Leishmaniasis is a parasitic disease transmitted by phlebotomine sandflies. Between 700,000 and 1.2 million cases of cutaneous leishmaniasis and between 200,000 and 400,000 cases of visceral leishmaniasis (VL), which is fatal if left untreated, occur annually worldwide. Liposomal amphotericin B (LAMB), alone or in combination with other drugs, has been extensively studied as VL treatment, but data on routine field use are limited, and several challenges to patients' access to this life-saving drug remain. Areas covered: This article provides a review of clinical studies on LAMB for VL and other forms of leishmaniasis. The current development of generic versions of LAMB and related challenges are also discussed. Expert opinion: LAMB proved to be highly efficacious and safe in over 8000 VL patients treated by MÉdecins Sans Frontières in South Asia, and its use was feasible even at primary healthcare level. Despite requiring higher doses, LAMB is the drug of choice to treat vulnerable groups (e.g., pregnant or HIV positive) and relapsing VL patients in East Africa. LAMB should be included in national VL guidelines and registered in all VL endemic countries. Its cost should be further reduced and regulatory pathways to prove bioequivalence for generic LAMB products should be implemented.

Concepts: Illness, Amphotericin B, Leishmaniasis, Visceral leishmaniasis, Generic drug, Cutaneous leishmaniasis, Leishmania, Parasitic diseases

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Global findings indicate that incidence rate of cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) has significantly increased during the past decade, as documented in many countries. This review was aimed to evaluate the trend of CL cases in terms of demographic and clinical characteristics during a decade after the earthquake (2003-2012) compared to the corresponding period before the earthquake in Bam (1993-2003).

Concepts: Time, Epidemiology, Death, Medical statistics, Cutaneous leishmaniasis, Prevalence, WrestleMania X

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Protozoan parasites from the genus Leishmania cause broad clinical manifestations known as leishmaniases, which affect millions of people worldwide. Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL), caused by L. major, is one the most common forms of the disease in the Old World. There is no preventive or therapeutic human vaccine available for L. major CL, and existing drug treatments are expensive, have toxic side effects, and resistant parasite strains have been reported. Hence, further therapeutic interventions against the disease are necessary. Terminal, non-reducing, and linear α-galactopyranosyl (α-Gal) epitopes are abundantly found on the plasma membrane glycolipids of L. major known as glycoinositolphospholipids. The absence of these α-Gal epitopes in human cells makes these glycans highly immunogenic and thus potential targets for vaccine development against CL.

Concepts: Immune system, Bacteria, Cell membrane, Protozoa, Leishmaniasis, Cutaneous leishmaniasis, Leishmania, Leishmania major

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Secreted and surface-displayed carbohydrates are essential for virulence and viability of many parasites, including for immune system evasion. We have identified the α-Gal trisaccharide epitope on the surface of the protozoan parasites Leishmania infantum and Leishmania amazonensis, the etiological agents of visceral and cutaneous leishmaniasis, respectively, with the latter bearing larger amounts of α-Gal than the former. A polyvalent α-Gal conjugate on the immunogenic Qβ virus-like particle was tested as a vaccine against Leishmania infection in a C57BL/6 α-galactosyltransferase knockout mouse model, which mimics human hosts in producing high titers of anti-α-Gal antibodies. As expected, α-Gal-T knockout mice infected with promastigotes of both Leishmania species showed significantly lower parasite load in the liver and slightly decreased levels in the spleen, compared with wild-type mice. Vaccination with Qβ-α-Gal nanoparticles protected the knockout mice against Leishmania challenge, eliminating the infection and proliferation of parasites in the liver and spleen as probed by qPCR. The α-Gal epitope may therefore be considered as a vaccine candidate to block human cutaneous and visceral leishmaniasis.

Concepts: Immune system, Microbiology, Vaccine, Immunology, Leishmaniasis, Cutaneous leishmaniasis, Leishmania, Knockout mouse

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As part of a World Health Organization-led effort to update the empirical evidence base for the leishmaniases, national experts provided leishmaniasis case data for the last 5 years and information regarding treatment and control in their respective countries and a comprehensive literature review was conducted covering publications on leishmaniasis in 98 countries and three territories (see ‘Leishmaniasis Country Profiles Text S1, S2, S3, S4, S5, S6, S7, S8, S9, S10, S11, S12, S13, S14, S15, S16, S17, S18, S19, S20, S21, S22, S23, S24, S25, S26, S27, S28, S29, S30, S31, S32, S33, S34, S35, S36, S37, S38, S39, S40, S41, S42, S43, S44, S45, S46, S47, S48, S49, S50, S51, S52, S53, S54, S55, S56, S57, S58, S59, S60, S61, S62, S63, S64, S65, S66, S67, S68, S69, S70, S71, S72, S73, S74, S75, S76, S77, S78, S79, S80, S81, S82, S83, S84, S85, S86, S87, S88, S89, S90, S91, S92, S93, S94, S95, S96, S97, S98, S99, S100, S101’). Additional information was collated during meetings conducted at WHO regional level between 2007 and 2011. Two questionnaires regarding epidemiology and drug access were completed by experts and national program managers. Visceral and cutaneous leishmaniasis incidence ranges were estimated by country and epidemiological region based on reported incidence, underreporting rates if available, and the judgment of national and international experts. Based on these estimates, approximately 0.2 to 0.4 cases and 0.7 to 1.2 million VL and CL cases, respectively, occur each year. More than 90% of global VL cases occur in six countries: India, Bangladesh, Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Brazil. Cutaneous leishmaniasis is more widely distributed, with about one-third of cases occurring in each of three epidemiological regions, the Americas, the Mediterranean basin, and western Asia from the Middle East to Central Asia. The ten countries with the highest estimated case counts, Afghanistan, Algeria, Colombia, Brazil, Iran, Syria, Ethiopia, North Sudan, Costa Rica and Peru, together account for 70 to 75% of global estimated CL incidence. Mortality data were extremely sparse and generally represent hospital-based deaths only. Using an overall case-fatality rate of 10%, we reach a tentative estimate of 20,000 to 40,000 leishmaniasis deaths per year. Although the information is very poor in a number of countries, this is the first in-depth exercise to better estimate the real impact of leishmaniasis. These data should help to define control strategies and reinforce leishmaniasis advocacy.

Concepts: Middle East, Cutaneous leishmaniasis, Zürich Hauptbahnhof, S1, S6, Zürich Stadelhofen, S11, S8

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New World cutaneous leishmaniasis is mostly acquired in the Amazon Basin of Bolivia where L viannia (V) braziliensis is endemic. Treatment with systemic pentavalent antimonial compounds has been shown to be effective in achieving clinical cure in only 75% of cases.

Concepts: Amphotericin B, Leishmaniasis, Visceral leishmaniasis, Cutaneous leishmaniasis, Leishmania, Amazon River, Sodium stibogluconate, Pentavalent antimonial