Leishmaniasis classification

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Alejandro Lemor, M.D. [2]


Leishmaniasis is classified according to the clinical manifestation. The most common forms are cutaneous leishmaniasis, which causes skin sores, and visceral leishmaniasis, which affects several internal organs (usually spleen, liver, and bone marrow). Mucosal leishmaniasis is a form of the disease that affects the mucous membranes of the mouth, nose and throat.


Leishmaniasis is classified in 3 different presentation forms: cutaneous, mucosal, and visceral leishmaniasis. [1]

Cutaneous Leishmaniasis

  • The most common form is cutaneous leishmaniasis, which causes skin lesions.
  • The lesions typically develop within a few weeks or months of the sand fly bite.
  • These lesions can change in size and appearance over time.
  • They may start out as papules (bumps) or nodules (lumps) and may end up as ulcers; skin ulcers might be covered by scab or crust.
  • The sores usually are painless but can be painful.
  • Some people have swollen glands near the sores.

Mucosal Leishmaniasis

  • Mucosal or mucocutaneous leishmaniasis is an example of one of the less common forms of leishmaniasis.
  • This form can be a sequela of infection with some of the species (types) of the parasite that cause cutaneous leishmaniasis in parts of Latin America.
  • Certain types of the parasite might spread from the skin and cause sores in the mucous membranes of the nose (most common location), mouth, or throat.

Visceral Leishmaniasis

Visceral leishmaniasis affects several internal organs (usually spleen, liver, and bone marrow) and can be life threatening.


  1. "CDC Parasites Leishmaniasis- Disease".

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