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An updated view of the establishment and spread of the leishmaniases in Europe is presented, mostly with respect to newly emerging and re-emerging foci and the incrimination of neglected as well as new reservoir hosts. At the same time, a concept of specific versus permissive vectors reassesses the potential role of various sandfly species in Leishmania transmission and considers the risk of introduction of exotic Leishmania species in Europe. The leishmaniases are dynamic diseases and the circumstances of transmission are continually changing in relation to environmental, demographic and human behavioural factors. Changes in the habitat of the natural hosts and vectors, immunosuppressive conditions (like infection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or organ transplantation-associated therapies in humans) and the consequences of war, all contribute to the transformation of the epidemiology of leishmaniasis. Such changes should be considered when studying the spread of the disease throughout Europe for targeted control measures to safeguard public health.


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