|Description:||This Giemsa-stained photomicrograph revealed a Leishmania sp. protozoan, which had been taken from a smear of a suspected leishmanial lesion, and magnified 1125X.|
”Human leishmanial infections can result in 2 main forms of disease, cutaneous leishmaniasis and visceral leishmaniasis (kala-azar). The factors determining the form of disease include leishmanial species, geographic location, and immune response of the host. Cutaneous leishmaniasis is characterized by one or more cutaneous lesions on areas where sand flies have fed. Persons who have cutaneous leishmaniasis have one or more sores on their skin. The sores can change in size and appearance over time. They often end up looking somewhat like a volcano, with a raised edge and central crater. A scab covers some sores. The sores can be painless or painful. Some people have swollen glands near the sores (for example, in the armpit if the sores are on the arm or hand).
Persons who have visceral leishmaniasis usually have fever, weight loss, and an enlarged spleen and liver (usually the spleen is bigger than the liver). Some patients have swollen glands. Certain blood tests are abnormal. For example, patients usually have low blood counts, including a low red blood cell count (anemia), low white blood cell count, and low platelet count. Some patients develop post kala-azar dermal leishmaniasis. Visceral leishmaniasis is becoming an important opportunistic infection in areas where it coexists with HIV.