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According to Mexican health authorities, through June 17, 841 cutaneous leishmaniasis cases were reported nationwide. Of this number, 769 belong to the three states of the Yucatan Peninsula, that is, 91.4 percent of the national total.

Phlebotomus papatasi sand fly/James Gathany

While a frequent disease in the Yucatan Peninsula, this is an unusual increase compared to the last four years.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says Leishmaniasis is a parasitic disease that is found in parts of the tropics, subtropics, and southern Europe. Leishmaniasis is caused by infection with Leishmania parasites, which are spread by the bite of infected sand flies. There are several different forms of leishmaniasis in people. The most common forms are cutaneous leishmaniasis, which causes skin sores, and visceral leishmaniasis, which affects several internal organs (usually spleen, liver, and bone marrow).

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People with cutaneous leishmaniasis who develop clinical evidence of infection have one or more sores on their skin. The sores can change in size and appearance over time. The sores may start out as papules (bumps) or nodules (lumps) and may end up as ulcers (like a volcano, with a raised edge and central crater); skin ulcers may be covered by scab or crust. The sores usually are painless but can be painful.

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There is not a  vaccine available to prevent leishmaniasis. The best way is to avoid sandfly bites.