Reactivation of dormant cutaneous Leishmania infection in a kidney transplant patient


Vladimir Vincek, MD, PhD, Department of Pathology, University of Miami/Jackson Memorial Hospital, Holtz Center, room 2042, Miami, FL, USA
Tel: +1 (305) 585 6484
Fax: +1 (305) 585 1029


Background:  Leishmaniasis is an infection caused by a protozoan parasite belonging to genus Leishmania and transmitted by the Phlebotomus sandfly. Clinical presentations of infection include visceral, cutaneous, and mucocutaneous forms. Leishmaniasis is endemic in Africa, Asia, Europe, South America, and southern part of North America. This infection is extremely rare in the US and is mostly found among travelers coming from endemic areas. Cases of cutaneous and visceral leishmaniasis have been reported in organ transplant recipients in endemic areas.

Case report:  We describe a case of cutaneous leishmaniasis in a kidney transplant patient, originally from Bolivia, who resides in the area known to be non-endemic for leishmaniasis and who is known not to travel within or outside of the US after the transplantation.

Results:  Histologic examination of cutaneous lesion revealed extensive subcutaneous lymphohistiocytic inflammation with clusters of amastigote within histiocytes.

Conclusion:  To our knowledge, this is the first case of cutaneous leishmaniasis in a kidney transplant patient residing in the US in an area known to be non-endemic for leishmaniasis, probably after reactivation of a previously dormant infection acquired outside of the US at least 9 months prior to developing clinical symptoms.