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Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is a chronic infectious disease of the skin by the dermotrophic protozoan parasites of the genus Leishmania. There are several species that cause the disease. L tropica, L major and L aethiopica are the common species in the old world and L braziliensis is the common species among others in the new world. Over a million cases of CL occur every year in the world. While Brazil is largely affected in the new world, CL in the old world is seen in the Middle East, North Africa, the Indian subcontinent and Central Asia.

CL in Ethiopia occurs almost always due to L aethiopica and around 20,000 to 40,000 cases occur every year. It is found distributed mainly to the central high lands of the country. CL in Ethiopia is a zoonotic disease with rock hyraxes as reservoirs. 

Map 3: Distribution of cutaneous leishmaniasis in Ethiopia