Despite the fact that each year one and a half million people contract leishmaniasis, the World Health Organization (WHO) denounces that due attention is not paid to this infectious disease because, although it is present in around 100 countries, the 90 % of cases occur in economically disadvantaged areas, especially in Southeast Asia (Bangladesh, India and Nepal) and in East Africa (Ethiopia, Sudan).
The tropical countries-in development-are those that have a higher prevalence of leishmaniasis, which experts define as the 'disease of poverty' because it has always been associated with population groups with few socio-economic resources, and who are forced to live crammed into inadequate housing and with inadequate hygiene.
The parasite that causes leishmaniasis causes various injuries, from ulcers on the skin and mucous membranes, to damage to internal organs such as the kidneys or liver
This disease, which is transmitted by the bite of certain insects, is also endemic in other countries of central and lower Asia, such as Afghanistan, as well as in Latin America (Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras ...).
The parasite that causes leishmaniasis -and that is inoculated to the human being through the bite of the vector- causes various injuries to the affected person, from ulcers on skin and mucous membranes, to damage in internal organs such as the kidneys or liver, and some types of leishmaniasis, such as visceral, can cause death.
The treatment of visceral leishmaniasis, which mainly affects the population of Southeast Asian countries, has improved thanks to a new drug - amphotericin B liposomal - which is achieving high cure rates - around 96% - in patients with those that have been administered. Experts insist, however, that more research is necessary to develop more effective drugs against the cutaneous variant of leishmaniasis that, despite not being fatal, causes serious injuries and sequelae in patients.