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The World Health Organization (WHO) lists human leishmaniasis as a neglected tropical disease; it is not under surveillance at European level.


We present surveillance data for visceral (VL) and cutaneous (CL) leishmaniasis for the period 2004 to 2018 in Greece to assess their public health importance.


We extracted data from the mandatory notification system to analyse separately imported and domestic cases of VL and CL. A case was defined by clinical manifestations compatible with VL or CL and laboratory confirmation.


Between 2004 and 2018, 881 VL (862 domestic, 19 imported) and 58 CL cases (24 domestic, 34 imported) were recorded. The mean annual notification rate of domestic VL was 0.5 per 100,000 (range: 0.12–1.43/100,000) with a statistically significant increasing trend (p = 0.013). Cases were reported by all regions. The highest notification rate occurred in the age group 0–4 years (1.3/100,000). Overall 24% (164/680) of the cases were immunocompromised and their proportion increased after 2010 (p < 0.001). The mean annual notification rate of domestic CL was 0.05 per 100,000 (range: 0.01–0.19/100,000) with the highest rate in the age group 5–14 years (0.03/100,000). Cases were recorded in six of the 13 regions. Among 34 imported CL cases, 29 were foreign nationals.


VL is endemic in Greece, with an increasing trend and a considerable burden of severe disease and young children being most affected. CL is rarely reported. A sustainable action plan is needed to reduce the burden of VL and prevent local transmission of CL.


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