There are three basic forms in which the disease presents: cutaneous, mucocutaneous and visceral, and 21 species of the genus are known to cause disease in humans.
Symptoms of cutaneous leishmaniasis depend on where the lesions are located and may include:
- Breathing difficulty
- Skin sores, which may become a skin ulcer that heals very slowly
- Stuffy nose, runny nose, and nosebleeds
- Swallowing difficulty
- Ulcers and wearing away (erosion) in the mouth, tongue, gums, lips, nose, and inner nose
Symptoms of Systemic visceral include:
- Enlarged spleen and liver
- Abdominal discomfort
- Decreased production of Red Blood Cells(RBC)
Symptoms of Mucocutaneous leishmaniasis (MCL) include:
- Inflammation and mutilation of the nose, mouth, oropharynx, and trachea.
- Respiratory difficulties and malnutrition
A physical exam may show signs of an enlarged spleen, liver, and lymph nodes.
Tests that may be done to diagnose the condition include:
- Biopsy of the spleen and bone marrow
- Antibody test
- Liver and lymph node biopsy
- Skin biopsy
- Complete blood count
- Serologic testing
Medicines called antimony-containing compounds are the main drugs used to treat leishmaniasis. These include:
- Meglumine antimoniate
- Sodium stibogluconate
Other drugs that may be used include:
- Amphotericin B
Plastic surgery may be needed to correct the disfigurement caused by sores on the face (cutaneous leishmaniasis). Patients with drug-resistant viral leishmaniasis may need to have their spleen removed (splenectomy).
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