Painful and swollen tongue: mucosal leishmaniasis due to Leishmania infantum

Ga Lai M. Chong*, David SY Ong, Mariana de Mendonça Melo, Jaap J. van Hellemond

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
24 Downloads (Pure)


Background:: Leishmaniasis is a parasitic disease caused by different Leishmania species. L. infantum is found in the Mediterranean area. It usually causes visceral or cutaneous leishmaniasis, but rarely mucosal leishmaniasis (ML). Methods:: A 62-year-old man with metastatic non-small-cell lung carcinoma visited the outpatient clinic because of a painful and swollen tongue. Initially, oral candidiasis was suspected and patient was unsuccessfully treated accordingly. Subsequently, a biopsy from the tongue was taken. Results:: Histology of the tongue biopsy showed an inflammation with histiocytes and Leishmania amastigotes. Molecular analysis determined these parasites as L. donovani complex. Based on the patient's travel history, ML caused by L. infantum was diagnosed. Conclusion:: ML is an unusual presentation of L. infantum. ML is not only caused by Leishmania species endemic in Latin America, but also should be considered in the differential diagnosis for European patients. A biopsy of the affected location is needed to confirm the diagnosis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)109-112
Number of pages4
JournalInternational Journal of Infectious Diseases
Early online date28 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank Suzanna Broerse (Franciscus Gasthuis & Vlietland, Rotterdam, the Netherlands) for supplying specific clinical information and Klaas Hoogduin (Franciscus Gasthuis & Vlietland, Rotterdam, the Netherlands) for analysing and describing the histologic specimen. Titia Kortbeek (Laboratory for Infectious Diseases, National Institute for Public Health and the Environment, Bilthoven, the Netherlands) is thanked for the primary molecular diagnosis of ML and Leishmania species determination in the first biopsy specimen.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 The Authors


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