WVA policies

One Health One Health

22 Apr 2021

WVA Position Statement on Leishmaniosis

Leishmaniasis is a neglected tropical disease, found in approximately 98 countries on 5 continents. It is caused by Leishmania parasites, protozoans which are most commonly spread by the bite of infected phlebotomine sand flies. The disease has several forms ranging from cutaneous leishmaniasis, which causes skin lesions, to visceral leishmaniasis, which affects internal organs and is generally fatal if not treated. Approximately 12 million people are infected with Leishmania at any given time,1 with an estimated 700,000 to 1 million new cases occurring annually. Rodents and canids are the most common reservoir hosts. In endemic countries, though cats may act as hosts, dogs are considered the primary reservoir host for sand fly transmitted Leishmania infantum (L. infantum), the main agent of canine leishmaniasis (CanL) and an important agent in human leishmaniasis. Geographically distant rehoming of dogs can lead to the introduction of the disease into new populations.

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