Leishmaniasis, also spelled leishmaniosis, is a disease caused by protozoan parasites of the genus Leishmania and spread by the bite of certain types of sandflies. The disease can present in three main ways: cutaneous, mucocutaneous, or visceral leishmaniasis. The cutaneous form presents with skin ulcers, while the mucocutaneous form presents with ulcers of the skin, mouth, and nose, and the visceral form starts with skin ulcers and then later presents with fever, low red blood cells, and enlarged spleen and liver.
Infections in humans are caused by more than 20 species of Leishmania. Risk factors include poverty, malnutrition, deforestation, and urbanization. All three types can be diagnosed by seeing the parasites under the microscope. Additionally, visceral disease can be diagnosed by blood tests.