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Field testing

As the treatment for leishmaniasis is highly toxic, health professionals use multiple tests to make sure that a patient does actually have the disease. Extracting bone marrow aspirate can be the last and most painful step in testing for some types of leishmaniasis.

Bone marrow aspiration needle, The Mermaid Medical Group, 2019

Discovering parasites

In 1901 William Leishman, a Scottish doctor working as a British medical officer in India, identified the parasite that causes leishmaniasis. Ronald Ross later made the connection between the parasites observed by Leishman and the disease. 

100 million years ago

Leishmania parasites were identified in sand flies dating from around 100 million years ago, leading to speculation that the parasite may have been a factor in the extinction of dinosaurs!

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