Leishmaniasis.Lancet. 1999 Oct 02; 354(9185):1191-9.Lct
In 1903, Leishman and Donovan separately described the protozoan now called Leishmania donovani in splenic tissue from patients in India with the life-threatening disease now called visceral leishmaniasis. Almost a century later, many features of leishmaniasis and its major syndromes (ie, visceral, cutaneous, and mucosal) have remained the same; but also much has changed. As before, epidemics of this sandfly-borne disease occur periodically in India and elsewhere; but leishmaniasis has also emerged in new regions and settings, for example, as an AIDS-associated opportunistic infection. Diagnosis still typically relies on classic microbiological methods, but molecular-based approaches are being tested. Pentavalent antimony compounds have been the mainstay of antileishmanial therapy for half a century, but lipid formulations of amphotericin B (though expensive and administered parenterally) represent a major advance for treating visceral leishmaniasis. A pressing need is for the technological advances in the understanding of the immune response to leishmania and the pathogenesis of leishmaniasis to be translated into field-applicable and affordable methods for diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of this disease.