Leishmaniasis

Diagnosis, detection and surveillance

© Sajid Mualsad, Pakistan, 2012
© Sajid Mualsad, Pakistan, 2012
A robust surveillance system is an essential component of control or elimination programmes

Diagnosis of visceral Leishmaniasis is made by combining clinical signs with parasitological or serological tests (rapid diagnostic tests and others). In cutaneous and mucocutaneous Leishmaniasis, serological tests have limited value. In cutaneous Leishmaniasis, clinical manifestation with parasitological tests confirm the diagnosis.

A robust surveillance system is an essential component of control or elimination programmes. Two forms of surveillance – passive and active case-detection or searches – are mainly applied in disease control programmes.

‘Passive case detection’ is detection triggered by patients seeking care for their illness from clinicians working in static health facilities. Clinicians who manage a case should notify it to the appropriate epidemiological surveillance system. WHO recommends the use of the standard case definitions to detect the cases.

‘Active case detection’ or search means that health staff reach out to the community and systematically screen the population to find cases of Leishmaniasis. Active case search is an essential component of the visceral Leishmaniasis elimination strategy on the Indian subcontinent. It helps to reduce disease transmission by shortening the infectious period of patients; and earlier diagnosis and treatment improves treatment outcomes of patients.

Leishmaniasis in the news

20 March 2013 | Geneva
Report of a WHO consultative meeting on developing a manual for case-management, prevention and control of post-kala-azardermal leishmaniasis. Kolkata, India, 2–3 July 2012.

30 May 2012 | Geneva
Leishmaniasis: epidemiology and access to medicines − an update based on the outcomes of WHO regional meetings, literature review and experts' opinion.