South-East Asia poised to defeat visceral leishmaniasis (kala-azar)

19 October 2015 | Geneva −− Three countries of WHO’s South-East Asia Region – Bangladesh, India and Nepal – are poised to eliminate visceral leishmaniasis (kala-azar) as a public health problem. The number of cases has reduced by 53%, from a high of 182 000 cases during 2005–2008 to 85 000 cases during 2011–2014. The 10 209 new cases reported in 2014 represents a 75% decrease from 2005 when the Kala-Azar Elimination Programme was launched.

Call on WHO to lead a network aimed at the control of leishmaniasis

Patient with cutaneous leishmaniasis, Afghanistan, 2014

16 January 2015 | Geneva −− WHO is and has been making efforts to coordinate and provide support to strengthen leishmaniasis control in various countries in the Maghreb, Middle East, Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

What is leishmaniasis

©WHO/Patient with visceral leishmaniasis, with bleeding, from Kapoeta, South Sudan, 2013

The leishmaniases are a group of diseases caused by protozoan parasites from more than 20 Leishmania species that are transmitted to humans by the bites of infected female phlebotomine sandflies.

There are three main forms of the disease: cutaneous leishmaniasis, visceral leishmaniasis or kala-azar, and mucocutaneous leishmaniasis.

fact buffet


300 000Estimated cases of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) and over 20 000 deaths annually

Visceral leishmaniasis -- status of endemicity and disease burden worldwide, 2013


1 millionCases of cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) reported in the last 5 years.

Cutaneous leishmaniasis -- status of endemicity and disease burden worldwide, 2013

At risk

310 millionPeople at risk of infection in six countries reporting over 90% VL cases worldwide.

Third WHO report on NTDs
Chapter 4.9, page 118–126

Fact sheet


N°375, updated February 2015

NTD Roadmap

Accelerating work to overcome the global impact of Neglected Tropical Diseases - A roadmap for implementation

Technical Report series (TRS)

The control of the leishmaniases (N°949)

Leishmaniasis in the news


Dr José Antonio Ruiz Postigo
Leishmaniasis Control Programme
Telephone: +41 22 791 3870
Mobile phone: +41 79 516 3882