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BioMed Research International
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 805108, 7 pages
Review Article

Mucosal Leishmaniasis: An Underestimated Presentation of a Neglected Disease

1Division of Infectious Diseases, Department of Clinical and Molecular Biomedicine, Garibaldi Nesima Hospital, University of Catania, 95125 Catania, Italy
2Division of Otorhinolaryngology, Department of Medical-Surgical Specialties, Policlinico-Vittorio Emanuele Hospital, University of Catania, 95125 Catania, Italy
3Division of Pathology and Experimental Microbiology, Elie Metchnikoff Department, University of Messina, 98125 Messina, Italy

Received 30 April 2013; Accepted 6 June 2013

Academic Editor: Andrew Mujugira

Copyright © 2013 Alessio Strazzulla et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


We present a review of current knowledge about mucosal leishmaniasis (ML). Although involvement of mucous membranes is classically admitted in New World leishmaniasis, particularly occurring in infection by Leishmania (L.) braziliensis species complex, ML is also a possible presentation of Old World leishmaniasis, in either L. donovani or L. major species complex infections. Thus, ML has to be considered not only as a Latin American disease but as an Old and New World disease. We describe ML epidemiology, pathogenesis, clinics, diagnosis, and therapy. Considering both its highly disfiguring lesions and its possible lethal outcome, ML should not be underestimated by physicians. Moreover, leishmaniasis is expected to increase its burden in many countries as sandfly vector distribution is widespreading towards non-endemic areas. Finally, the lack of clear understanding of ML pathogenesis and the absence of effective human vaccines strongly claim for more research.