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a species that is the causal agent of visceral leishmaniasis in Mediterranean and adjacent countries, the south central section of western Asia, eastern India, northern China, Kenya, Ethiopia, and the Sudan; also found in Brazil, Argentina, Colombia, and Venezuela; in the Old World, it is transmitted by various species of Phlebotomus; New World vectors are species of Lutzomyia; dogs and other carnivores are known as reservoir hosts in some areas. The intracellular amastigote form multiplies in macrophages and produces a reticuloendothelial hyperplasia grossly affecting the spleen and liver, with other lymphoid tissues being involved as well, resulting in severe hepatosplenomegaly, which usually is fatal if untreated.
The causative agent of kala azar (visceral leishmaniasis).
See also: Leishmania