The Leishmaniases are diseases caused by protozoan parasites from more than 20 Leishmania species that are transmitted to humans by the bites of infected female phlebotomine sandflies.
There are three main forms of the disease: cutaneous, visceral and mucocutaneous.
Cutaneous Leishmaniasis, the most common form of the disease, causes ulcers on exposed parts of the body, leading to disfigurement, permanent scars, stigma and in some cases disability.
Visceral Leishmaniasis or kala-azar, the most severe form of the disease, is fatal if left untreated. The disease affects the vital organs of the body and is characterized by irregular bouts of fever, weight loss, enlargement of the spleen and liver, and anaemia.
Mucocutaneous Leishmaniasis, the most destructive form of the disease, causes partial or total mutilation of mucous membranes in the nose, mouth and throat.