ABSTRACT

Both cutaneous (zoonotic cutaneous leishmaniasis [ZCL] and anthroponotic cutaneous leishmaniasis [ACL]) and visceral leishmaniasis (VL) are prevalent in Pakistan, although the cutaneous form is comparatively more widespread. The present study aimed to spatially map different forms of leishmaniasis in Pakistan. In addition, the risk for acquiring leishmaniasis was assessed in different locations of the country. Previously published literature on leishmaniasis distribution and associated risk factors in Pakistan was obtained from PubMed/NCBI and GoogleScholar using specific keywords. Further, 50 articles that focused on geographical distribution and risk factors of the disease in Pakistan were obtained and systematically reviewed. Data regarding location (used in ArcGIS for spatial analysis), number of cases, and risk factors were identified. The present study revealed a high burden of cutaneous leishmaniasis in the northern and western foci of Pakistan. Leishmania major, chiefly a causative agent of ZCL, was observed to be prevalent in the arid and semi-arid climatic zones of the country with elevations between 45 and 2,837 m (maximum number at low elevation). Leishmania tropica cases, associated with ACL, were recorded at elevations ranging from 551 to 2,837 m (majority cases at high elevation). Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) (reportedly caused by Leishmania infantum) was sporadically distributed in the northern areas at elevations 1,432–2,873 m. For VL, particularly, mountainous communities, farming communities, and the presence of dogs were the most commonly reported risk factors. On the other hand, poor preventive measures, migration, presence of domesticated animals, presence of cattle dung, living in mud houses, and outdoor sleeping habits were the principal risk factors associated with cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL). This investigation can guide the health experts and medical entomologists toward targeted and cost-effective surveillance and control of leishmaniasis in Pakistan.

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