ECDC report on leishmaniases in the EU and neighbouring countries

28 June 2022

Article: 56/2509

On 20 June 2022, the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) published a technical report, presenting the epidemiology of human and animal leishmaniases in the EU and its neighbouring countries. The report concluded that the disease remains widespread and underreported in many countries of southern Europe, northern Africa, and the Middle East, and a need exists to improve leishmaniasis prevention and control based on robust surveillance in humans, animals, and vectors, and to increase public awareness following a one health approach. 

The report suggests current leishmaniasis prevention and control measures and access to valid diagnostic methods and effective treatments are insufficient, which could have important disease implications, including an increase in incidence in the EU and its neighbouring countries, the spread of Leishmania spp. into new areas going unnoticed, increases in treatment failure and the development of resistance to treatments. 

The report also describes the surveillance, prevention, and control measures implemented in 40 countries in Europe, northern Africa, the Middle East, Turkey, and the Caucasus, where leishmaniases are endemic, or where sand fly vectors of Leishmania parasites have been reported. 

Information was gathered through an extensive, non-systematic review of the scientific and grey literature published between 2009 and 2020, and through questionnaires addressing the public health and veterinary national authorities in the targeted countries. 

Outputs include: 

  • a description and analysis of the spatial and temporal dynamics, including presence maps and evidence for emergence 
  • a description of statutory notification, surveillance, and control arrangements 
  • a description of levels of access to diagnostic techniques and medicines 

This information was collated to provide the basis for recommendations on potential future action to strengthen surveillance, prevention, and control of leishmaniases, in order to reduce the impact of the disease in the EU and its neighbouring countries. 

Source: ECDC, 20 June 2022