The leishmaniasis (Leishmaniasis, Orientbane, Kala-Azar) is a tropical infectious disease caused by parasites called Leishmania. The Leishmania infection occurs worldwide in humans and animals and is transmitted by the sandfly. Leishmaniasis occurs in different variants. Read more about signs and treatment of leishmaniasis here.

ICD codes for this disease: ICD codes are internationally valid medical diagnosis codes. They are found e.g. in medical reports or on incapacity certificates. B55ArtikelübersichtLeishmaniose

  • description
  • symptoms
  • Causes and risk factors
  • Examinations and diagnosis
  • treatment
  • Disease course and prognosis

Leishmaniasis: description

Leishmania are single-celled parasites and are transmitted via the saliva of the sandfly (butterfly mosquito). There are a total of 30 different Leishmania species, of which ten are pathogenic in humans and are distinguished by their appearance and clinical picture. Many mammals, especially rodents, serve as a natural host.

Leishmaniasis: human

Depending on the form of the disease, leishmaniasis causes skin ulcers in humans, affects the mucous membranes in the nasopharyngeal region or causes severe damage to the liver, spleen or bone marrow. Around 12 million people worldwide suffer from leishmaniasis, and two million become infected each year.

Leishmaniasis is particularly prevalent in the tropics and the Mediterranean. In Germany, leishmaniasis is rare, but fall ill - favored by mass tourism - vacationers again and again.

Leishmaniasis: forms

All forms are transmitted by different species of sandfly:

Leishmaniasis form


Leishmania species

Cutaneous leishmaniasis of the "Old World" (Oriental bulge)


Leishmania tropica

Cutaneous leishmaniasis of the "New World"


Leishmania vianna

Cutaneous and mucocutaneous leishmaniasis of the "New World"

Skin and mucous membrane

Leishmania brasiliensis

Visceral Leishmaniasis (Kala-Azar)

Skin and internal organs

Leishmania donovani

Leishmaniasis: occurrence

The leishmaniasis of the "Old World" occurs about 90 percent in Europe and Asia. These include Afghanistan, Algeria, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Iraq, Ethiopia, the Middle East and the Spanish Mediterranean islands. The pathogens are mainly Leishmania tropica, Leishmania major and Leishmania aethiopica.

About ten percent of new cases are caused by infections in the "New World". These include Central and South American countries such as Brazil, Mexico, Bolivia and Peru. The pathogens are predominantly Leishmania mexicana and Leishmania brasiliensis.

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Leishmaniasis: symptoms

Long-lasting nodules or altered skin on the face or arms should always be thought of as leishmaniasis after traveling in high-risk areas. Often the symptoms of leishmaniasis are confused with those of a lymphoma (disease of cells of the lymphatic system).