Leishmaniasis: The Neglected Disease of War, Conflict, and Human Misery

One of the least known consequences of modern conflict in the Middle East and East Africa has been the widespread devastation that results from a tropical infection known as leishmaniasis. The international scientific and diplomatic communities now have an opportunity to work together to prevent the spread of this neglected tropical disease and to develop new treatments or vaccines.

Leishmaniasis is caused by a microscopic protozoan parasite that is transmitted through the bite of small and delicate blood feeding insects known as sandflies. Mostly because of forced human migrations that expose people to sand fly bites as they flee conflicts or while living in refugee settings, together with breakdowns in public health infrastructure, leishmaniasis outbreaks have become the new hallmark of late 20th or 21st century wars and human misery.

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