Old World cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is one of the most prevalent insectborne NTDs in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia. CL is generally not fatal, but clinical symptoms can lead to disfiguring scars that result in social stigmatization. Due to the collapse of the Syrian health system and migrant situation, CL currently affects hundreds of thousands of people living in refugee camps or trapped in conflict zones (Fig. 1) ().
The disease is exclusively transmitted by the bite of a female sand fly (read our commentary article on Mondragon-Shem K. and Acosta-Serrano A. (2016) ). In collaboration with the Saudi Arabian Ministry of Health, we have developed a programme aiming to prevent and control CL in this country. The programme focuses, among other aspects, in developing a rapid diagnostic test based on the patient’s anti-alpha-Gal response (, and in identifying markers for disease exposure (Mondragon Shem, K et al :e0003449) (Fig. 4). We hope that these tools can soon be applied in other CL-endemic countries, including refugee settings.