New World Leishmaniasis: The Role of Confocal Microscopy in Diagnosis and Follow-up - Tropical Dermatology

Ana Ortins-Pina, Luís Soares-de-Almeida, Paulo Filipe, André Laureano Oliveira


Cutaneous leishmaniasis may mimic other infections in overlapping endemic areas and timely treatment prevents dissemination of the parasite. The required histopathological and microbiological examinations are not always available, and can only give a deferred confirmation of the diagnosis. In contrast, reflectance confocal microscopy (RCM) allows real-time visualization till the level of papillary dermis. A 59-year-old Brazilian male presented with ulcerated plaques and tumors on the extremities. The clinical differential diagnosis included leishmaniasis and other infections with lymphocutaneous pattern of dissemination. RCM showed the characteristic picture of «eggs in a bird’s nest» which has been described in cutaneous leishmaniasis. The diagnosis of leishmaniasis was later confirmed by skin biopsy, in which Leishmania guyanensis was identified by parasitological examination. After treatment with liposomal amphotericin B, reassessment with RCM corroborated the clinical cure, showing an «empty nest» picture. In conclusion, RCM noninvasively provides useful information for diagnosis and follow-up of cutaneous leishmaniasis.


Dermoscopy; Leishmania; Leishmaniasis, Cutaneous/diagnosis; Microscopy, Confocal

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