New world cutaneous leishmaniasis in travellers

Lancet Infect Dis. 2006 Jun;6(6):342-9. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(06)70492-3.


As travel to Latin America has become increasingly common, cutaneous leishmaniasis is increasingly seen among returning travellers--eg, the number of observed cases has doubled in the Netherlands and tripled in the UK in the past decade. A surprisingly high proportion of cases were acquired in rural or jungle areas of the Amazon basin in Bolivia. The clinical manifestations range from ulcerative skin lesions (cutaneous leishmaniasis) to a destructive mucosal inflammation (mucocutaneous leishmaniasis), the latter usually being a complication of infection with Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis. PCR is now the diagnostic method of choice, since it has a high sensitivity and gives a species-specific diagnosis, allowing species-specific treatment. Treatment of cutaneous leishmaniasis aims to prevent mucosal invasion, to accelerate the healing of the skin lesion(s), and to avoid disfiguring scars. Pentavalent antimonials drugs are still the drug of choice for many patients. However, a high rate of adverse events, length of treatment, and relapses in up to 25% of cases highlight the limitations of these drugs. Although only used in a small number of patients thus far, liposomal amphotericin B shows promising results. Further studies are needed to find efficacious and better-tolerated drugs for new world leishmaniasis.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antiprotozoal Agents / therapeutic use
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Geography
  • Humans
  • Latin America
  • Leishmaniasis, Cutaneous / diagnosis
  • Leishmaniasis, Cutaneous / drug therapy
  • Leishmaniasis, Cutaneous / epidemiology*
  • Leishmaniasis, Cutaneous / physiopathology
  • Leishmaniasis, Mucocutaneous / diagnosis
  • Leishmaniasis, Mucocutaneous / drug therapy
  • Leishmaniasis, Mucocutaneous / epidemiology*
  • Leishmaniasis, Mucocutaneous / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Travel*


  • Antiprotozoal Agents