Periódicos Brasileiros em Medicina Veterinária e Zootecnia

Impact of leishmaniasis on public health

B Camargo, L.Langoni, H.

Leishmaniasis is a parasitic zoonosis caused by protozoans of the genus Leishmania transmitted by insects known as phlebotomines, which are found in wild or urban environments. It affects domestic and wild animals and transmission to man happens by accident. The disease occurs in tropical and sub-tropical areas, mainly in Asia, Europe, Africa, and the Americas. There are two forms that affect man: American cutaneous leishmaniasis (ACL) and American visceral leishmaniasis (AVL). The latter is caused by three species of Leishmania: Leishmania (Leishmania) donovani, Leishmania (Leishmania) infantum, and Leishmania (Leishmania) chagasi, which are grouped in the Leishmania (Leishmania) donovani complex. Wild reservoir hosts of L. chagasi known so far are foxes and marsupials. In domestic environment, dogs are the most important reservoir hosts and sources of infection to the vectors Lutzomyia longipalpis. Leishmaniasis is difficult to control, causing epidemic outbreaks, thus being an important public health problem. Due to lesions caused by the mucocutaneous type and the severity of those caused by the visceral type in humans, visceral leishmaniasis is one of the main public health concerns. This paper is part of the monograph presented at the end of the residency program in the field of Zoonosis and Public Health at the School of Veterinary Sciences and Animal Husbandry, São Paulo State University, UNESP, Botucatu, São Paulo State, Brazil, in 2005.

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