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Dermatology Online Journal

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Pink plaque on the arm of a man after a trip to Mexico: cutaneous leishmaniasis


Cutaneous leishmaniasis is a parasitic infection caused by protozoa of the Leishmania genus that presents as asymptomatic pink papules that may ulcerate. There are several species of Leishmania found in 98 endemic countries and whereas all are associated with cutaneous disease, only specific species can cause mucocutaneous or visceral disease. Although the diagnosis of cutaneous leishmaniasis can be confirmed with Giemsa staining of a biopsy or “touch prep” specimen, only speciation at specialized centers such as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) can determine the risk of mucocutaneous or visceral disease. Treatment of cutaneous leishmaniasis is varied and depends on the extent of cutaneous disease and the risk of mucocutaneous or visceral disease.

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