Leishmaniasis is a major world health problem, which is increasing in incidence. In Northern Europe it is seen in travellers returning from endemic areas. The protozoa is transmitted by sandflies and may produce a variety of clinical syndromes varying from a simple ulcer to fatal systemic disease. This review considers the management of simple cutaneous leishmaniasis. Patients usually have a single ulcer that may heal spontaneously, requiring only topical, or no treatment at all. Lesions caused by Leishmania braziliensis may evolve into the mucocutaneous form, 'espundia', and should be treated with systemic antimony. Sodium stibogluconate 20mg/kg/day i.v. for 20 days is the appropriate first line treatment in these cases. Although it may cause transient bone marrow suppression, liver damage, a chemical pancreatitis, and disturbances in the electrocardiogram, it appears safe. The success of treatment should be assessed 6 weeks after it has been completed and patients should be followed up for 6 months.