Cutaneous leishmaniasis is endemic in the tropics and neotropics. It is often referred to as a group of diseases because of the varied spectrum of clinical manifestations, which range from small cutaneous nodules to gross mucosal tissue destruction. Cutaneous leishmaniasis can be caused by several Leishmania spp and is transmitted to human beings and animals by sandflies. Despite its increasing worldwide incidence, but because it is rarely fatal, cutaneous leishmaniasis has become one of the so-called neglected diseases, with little interest by financial donors, public-health authorities, and professionals to implement activities to research, prevent, or control the disease. In endemic countries, diagnosis is often made clinically and, if possible, by microscopic examination of lesion biopsy smears to visually confirm leishmania parasites as the cause. The use of more sophisticated diagnostic techniques that allow for species identification is usually restricted to research or clinical settings in non-endemic countries. The mainstays of cutaneous leishmaniasis treatment are pentavalent antimonials, with new oral and topical treatment alternatives only becoming available within the past few years; a vaccine currently does not exist. Disease prevention and control are difficult because of the complexity of cutaneous leishmaniasis epizoology, and the few options available for effective vector control.
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