Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Todd Lyda

Committee Member

Dr. James Morris

Committee Member

Dr. Alison Starr-Moss


Leishmaniasis is a life-threatening neglected tropical disease that is caused by the protozoa parasite, Leishmania. Over one million new human leishmaniasis cases occur each all over the world, affecting most the deeply impoverished regions of the world. The disease presents in three different forms: cutaneous leishmaniasis, mucocutaneous (mucosal) leishmaniasis, and visceral leishmaniasis. Symptoms can range from self-limiting lesion to more life-threatening conditions such as fever, kidney disease, and anemia. The Leishmania parasite is transmitted via the bite of the female phlebotomine sandfly and can infect many other mammals such as canines, rodents, bats, etc. The canine leishmaniasis epidemic is also important and has a crucial part in making progress in overall disease reduction. There is no current completely effective method of preventing or treating leishmaniasis. Vaccine research has been limited and has not yielded efficacious approaches up to this point. Additionally, current treatment methods are expensive, ineffective, and not easily accessible to most regions of infection. The Leishmania parasite is a complex pathogen with a capability to mutate and adapt as needed. New and creative treatments and preventatives are necessary to make progress in disease reduction. Parasite intracity and socioeconomic impact must be considered equally for research and development. Leishmaniasis will always be a difficult disease to control, but considerations of current failures can help push towards innovative solutions in the future.



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