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Leishmania species

Leishmania species is a topic covered in the Johns Hopkins HIV Guide.

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  • Protozoan parasite, HIV increases risk of visceral (hepatosplenic and bone marrow) disease but not cutaneous or mucocutaneous disease.
  • Transmitted by sand fly vectors. Also may be acquired through shared needles among IDUs, primarily in endemic urban settings.
    • Zoonosis: reservoirs
      • Canine: L. infantum, L. chagasi
      • Anthroponotic: L. donovani
  • Forms:
    • Visceral leishmaniasis: L. donovani (Asia), L. infantum (southern Europe, Mediterranean), L. chagasi (Brazil).
    • Cutaneous leishmaniasis: L. major and L. tropica (Old World), L. mexicana, L. amazonensis, L. peruviana, L. guyanensis (New World), L. (viania) braziliensis (cutaneous and mucocutaneous)
  • Amastigote forms seen within macrophages; flagellated promastigote forms seen in cultures, transmitted from insect vector.
  • Leishmania and HIV co-localize in similar cells (macrophages, dendritic cells) resulting in additive immune dysfunction, especially in macrophages leading to increased immune activation.

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Last updated: June 2, 2015


Auwaerter, Paul G. "Leishmania Species." Johns Hopkins HIV Guide, 2015. Johns Hopkins Guide, www.hopkinsguides.com/hopkins/view/Johns_Hopkins_HIV_Guide/545118/all/Leishmania_species.
Auwaerter PG. Leishmania species. Johns Hopkins HIV Guide. 2015. https://www.hopkinsguides.com/hopkins/view/Johns_Hopkins_HIV_Guide/545118/all/Leishmania_species. Accessed August 19, 2019.
Auwaerter, P. G. (2015). Leishmania species. In Johns Hopkins HIV Guide. Available from https://www.hopkinsguides.com/hopkins/view/Johns_Hopkins_HIV_Guide/545118/all/Leishmania_species
Auwaerter PG. Leishmania Species [Internet]. In: Johns Hopkins HIV Guide. ; 2015. [cited 2019 August 19]. Available from: https://www.hopkinsguides.com/hopkins/view/Johns_Hopkins_HIV_Guide/545118/all/Leishmania_species.
* Article titles in AMA citation format should be in sentence-case
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