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Leishmania braziliensis

Leishmania braziliensis: Life Cycle | Symptoms | Prevention and Control


  • Phylum- Protozoa
  • Sub-phylum- Plasmodroma
  • Class- Mastigophora
  • Sub-class- Zoomastigina
  • Order- Protomonadina
  • Genus – Leishmania
  • Species- braziliensis

Leishmania braziliensis is a parasite. This parasite causes a disease called as ‘Espundia’ and found to be distributed in epidemic form in the continent of America and Argentina in both the sexes and different age groups of man.

Life Cycle 

Like other species of Leishmania this is also transmitted by several species of Phlebotomus. The primary lesion is formed in the body of human beings when the carrier sandfly injects the leptomonad stage of this species into the outer dermis. Now injected parasites are engulfed by wandering histiocytes in which the parasites rapidly become leishmania form, multiply by binary division and soon destroy the cytoplasm of the host cells. Further, the histiocyte ruptures and sets the Leishmania free. Again they are engulfed by other macrophages in the vicinity in which they continue to multiply. In the very beginning, the lesion is in the form of a microscopic macula which transforms into a slightly elevated pustule, then opens at the centre to discharge semi-liquid necrotic material. At times the base of the crater may become covered with a granulating layer and the ulcers gradually dry up. More frequently the ulcer remains open with an oozing, glistering surface. If the inoculation is on the margin of the ear or the ear lobe, the parasites usually erode the skin and the underlying cartilage, leaving a multiplied auricle which may have a smooth or granulomatous surface.

Signs and Symptoms 

The unique feature of the infection by this species is a tendency for parasites to migrate to secondary sites at or near muco-cutaneous junctions. The most frequent site is the nasal septum. These lesions may be ulcerative, indurable or granulomatous. Blocking of lymphatic capillaries leads to necrosis and extensive destruction of soft and underlying hard tissues, producing extensive erosive multilation of the nares, and at times of the nasa-pharynx, larynx and palatine bones. Granulomatous disfiguring of the nose, lips and cheeks is common in persons with negroid blood. These secondary lesions are typically complicated by bacterial invasions.

Prevention and control 

  1. The sand flies should be controlled by any means.
  2. One should try to avoid the bite of sandfly.
  3. The wounds should be cleaned properly.
  4. The use of antibiotics and antiseptic means should be practised to avoid secondary infection.
  5. The treatment of uncomplicated primary lesion is similar to that of cutaneous leishmaniasis but sores after secondary infection are much more difficult to manage and require months or years of persistent treatment with antibiotics in association with antimonial preparations.

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