What are the clinical manifestations of cutaneous leishmaniasis?

Updated: Feb 18, 2020
  • Author: Craig G Stark, MD, FACP, FFTM, RCPS(Glasg), FISTM; Chief Editor: Pranatharthi Haran Chandrasekar, MBBS, MD  more...
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Answer

The broad spectrum of clinical manifestations of cutaneous leishmaniasis is often compared with that of leprosy. Cutaneous leishmaniasis can be simple or diffuse (disseminated). Different species, as well as host factors, can also affect the clinical picture, in which some species cause "wet" ulcers and others "dry" ulcers.

The hallmark of cutaneous leishmaniasis is skin lesions, which can spontaneously heal in 2-10 months. Inoculation occurs after a sandfly bites an exposed part of the body (usually the legs, arms, neck, or face). Incubation occurs over weeks to months, followed by the appearance of an erythematous papule, which can evolve into a plaque or ulcer. These lesions are usually painless.

No systemic symptoms are evident. After recovery or successful treatment, cutaneous leishmaniasis induces immunity to reinfection by the species of Leishmania that caused the disease.


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