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April 2016

Human Migration and Leishmaniasis—On the Move

Author Affiliations
  • 1Program in Infectious Diseases, Department of Epidemiology, Gillings School of Global Public Health, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
JAMA Dermatol. 2016;152(4):373-374. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2015.4765

Human migration as a consequence of war and armed conflict is one of several demographic factors that drive the reemergence of infectious diseases. Once-controlled endemic diseases, such as leishmaniasis, can rapidly become epidemic and spread beyond national borders.1,2 Leishmaniasis is a neglected vector-borne infectious disease caused by over 20 species of obligate intracellular protozoa of the genus Leishmania and transmitted by the bite of an infected phlebotomine sand fly.3 Depending on the Leishmania species, infected humans and/or animals may serve as reservoir hosts for the parasite. Direct human-to-human transmission may occur via blood transfusion or organ transplantation from donors with asymptomatic infection.4 Although rare, congenital transmission of leishmaniasis has been reported.3,4

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