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Leishmania and Animal Reservoirs: A Major Challenge for Disease Control


Leishmaniasis, caused by parasitic protozoans of the genus Leishmania, is a neglected tropical disease with significant global health consequences, particularly in regions lacking adequate healthcare infrastructure. The disease, transmitted by infected sandfly vectors, manifests in various clinical forms, ranging from self-healing skin ulcers to potentially fatal visceral infections. Animal reservoirs, including domestic and wild species, play a pivotal role in the perpetuation of Leishmania life cycles, acting as carriers without displaying any symptoms. The intricate interplay between Leishmania parasites, sandfly vectors, humans, and animal reservoirs poses a substantial challenge for effective disease control. The interaction between Leishmania and animal reservoirs exists, which emphasizes the challenges presented by the reservoirs for disease control. The geographical distribution of Leishmaniasis is linked to the presence and activity of animal reservoirs, influenced by environmental, biological, and ecological factors. Challenges in controlling Leishmaniasis via animal reservoirs include identification and monitoring, zoonotic transmission dynamics, resistance to conventional methods, limited therapeutics, heterogeneity among reservoirs, wildlife interactions, and resource constraints. The One Health approach, recognizing the interconnectedness of human, animal, and environmental health, emerges as a comprehensive strategy for addressing the complex challenges of Leishmaniasis. Surveillance and diagnostics for animal reservoirs are crucial components of control strategies, incorporating parasitological, immunological, molecular, and xenodiagnosis techniques. In conclusion, there is urgent need for a multidisciplinary, collaborative strategy to effectively address the challenges posed by animal reservoirs in Leishmaniasis control. From the complexities of surveillance to the risks of zoonotic transmission and the resistance to conventional control measures, it's clear that these reservoirs are not to be underestimated.

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