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Protozoan Leishmania: Disease Cause

Cause of the disease

Leishmaniasis is a non-contagious disease caused by parasites (protozoan Leishmania) that invade and reproduce within cells that are part of the immune system (macrophages) of the infected person.

Manifestation and characteristics

This disease can manifest itself in two ways: cutaneous or cutaneous leishmaniasis and visceral or kalazar leishmaniasis.

Cutaneous or cutaneous leishmaniasis is characterized by lesions on the skin and may also affect the nose, mouth and throat (this form is known as the “bruising”). Visceral or calazar is a systemic disease because it affects several organs, and the most affected are the liver, spleen and bone marrow. Its evolution is long and may, in some cases, even exceed a period of one year.


Its transmission occurs through small blood-feeding mosquitoes, which, depending on the locality, receive different names, such as: mosquito straw, armadillo, white wing, cangalinha, hard wing, straw or birigui. Because they are very small, these mosquitoes are able to pass through nets and screens. They are most commonly found in humid, dark, and plant-rich places.

Besides the care with the mosquito, through the use of repellents in areas very close to the forest, inside the forest, etc., it is also important to know that this parasite may also be present in some wild animals and even pet dogs.

Leishmaniasis Symptoms

Symptoms vary according to the type of leishmaniasis. In the case of the integument, a small reddish elevation appears on the skin that increases until it becomes a wound that may be covered with scab or purulent discharge. There is also the possibility of its manifestation through inflammatory lesions in the nose or mouth. Visceral symptoms include irregular fever, anemia, malaise, pale skin and mucous membranes, weight loss, abdominal swelling due to enlarged liver and spleen.

Prevention and treatment

The best way to prevent this disease is to avoid living or staying in areas that are too close to the forest, avoiding bathing in a river near the forest, always using repellents when in the woods, etc.

This disease should be treated with medication and receive medical attention, because if not properly treated, it can lead to death.

PLEASE NOTE: The information on this page is only for research and school work. Therefore, they should not be used for medical advice. To do so, see a doctor for guidance and proper treatment.