Protozoa are single-cell eukaryotic organisms, classified on the basis of their morphology and means of locomotion. Many of them are familiar to high-school biology students who during their first encounters with a microscope may watch ciliated or flagellate organisms move about, or slower ameboid creatures gradually spread their pseudopodia. Table 6.1 shows just how ubiquitous protozoa are, how many serious diseases they cause and how many previously poorly understood or unknown organisms have acquired increased importance because of HIV/AIDS. Protozoa may have complex life-cycles, infections are typically difficult to treat and in most cases prophylactic immunization is ineffective. One redeeming feature is that the organisms are large enough to be seen in stool, other tissue fluids and histologic sections in many cases. We only consider a limited number of protozoan infections with cutaneous findings.
KeywordsVisceral Leishmaniasis Cutaneous Leishmaniasis Cutaneous Disease Protozoan Infection Lepromatous Leprosy
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