Leishmaniasis epidemiology in endemic areas of metropolitan France and its overseas territories from 1998 to 2020

PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2022 Oct 7;16(10):e0010745. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0010745. eCollection 2022 Oct.


Background: In France, leishmaniasis is endemic in the Mediterranean region, in French Guiana and to a lesser extent, in the French West Indies. This study wanted to provide an updated picture of leishmaniasis epidemiology in metropolitan France and in its overseas territories.

Methodology/principal findings: Leishmaniasis cases were collected by passive notification to the French National Reference Centre for Leishmaniases (NRCL) in Montpellier from 1998 to 2020 and at the associated Centre in Cayenne (French Guiana) from 2003 to 2020. In metropolitan France, 517 autochthonous leishmaniasis cases, mostly visceral forms due to Leishmania infantum (79%), and 1725 imported cases (French Guiana excluded), mainly cutaneous leishmaniasis from Maghreb, were recorded. A slight decrease of autochthonous cases was observed during the survey period, from 0.48 cases/100,000 inhabitants per year in 1999 (highest value) to 0.1 cases/100,000 inhabitants per year in 2017 (lowest value). Conversely, imported cases increased over time (from 59.7 in the 2000s to 94.5 in the 2010s). In French Guiana, 4126 cutaneous and mucocutaneous leishmaniasis cases were reported from 2003 to 2020. The mean incidence was 103.3 cases per 100,000 inhabitants/year but varied in function of the year (from 198 in 2004 to 54 in 2006). In Guadeloupe and Martinique (French West Indies), only sporadic cases were reported.

Conclusions/significance: Because of concerns about disease expansion and outbreaks in other Southern Europe countries, and leishmaniasis monitoring by the NRCL should be continued and associated with a more active surveillance.

MeSH terms

  • France / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Leishmania infantum*
  • Leishmaniasis, Cutaneous*
  • Leishmaniasis, Mucocutaneous*
  • West Indies

Grants and funding

The authors received no specific funding for this work.