Leishmaniasis is a vector-borne tropical/subtropical disease caused by an intracellular parasite transmitted to humans by sand fly bite. It is endemic in Asia, Africa, the Americas, and the Mediterranean region. Worldwide reports include 1.5–2 million new cases each year, more than 300 million at risk of acquiring the disease, and 70,000 deaths per year. Clinical features depend on the Leishmania species and immune response of the host, varying from localized cutaneous disease to visceral form with potentially fatal outcome; however, the common presentation is either cutaneous, mucocutaneous, or visceral leishmaniasis. Many therapeutic agents are being used in Leishmania treatment, but the only effective treatment is achieved with current pentavalent antimonials. WHO considers Leishmaniasis as one of the “Neglected Tropical Diseases” that continues to be prevalent despite international, national, and local efforts towards its control and elimination over the last decade. This chapter reviews the global perspective of Leishmaniasis with increasing recognition of emerging “Atypical forms” and new surge of disease across the world mainly due to increasing conflicts in endemic areas leading to forced migration among other causes. All these challenges related to environment, disease, and vector pose major implications on WHO’s leishmaniasis control and elimination plan.
Part of the book: Parasitology and Microbiology Research