Kuvin Center designated Israel’s National Laboratory for Leishmaniasis


Sandfly (photo: James Gathany, CDC/Frank Collins)December 3, 2012: The Israel Ministry of Health has designated the Sanford F. Kuvin Center for the Study of Infectious and Tropical Diseases of the Hebrew University as Israel’s National Laboratory for Leishmaniasis.

Leishmaniasis is a disease caused by protozoan parasites that belong to the genus Leishmania and is transmitted by the bite of certain species of sandfly.

The declaration by the Ministry of Health recognizing the Kuvin Center as the National Laboratory for Leishmaniasis highlights the leading role of the center’s researchers, who have worked together with colleagues from around the world for many years on this disease as well as other projects.

An estimated 12 million cases of leishmaniasis are reported worldwide, with 1.5-2 million new cases a year. Depending on the parasite species symptoms of leishmaniasis can include skin sores, which erupt weeks to months after the person affected is bitten by the sandflies, as well as other consequences, such as fever, damage to the spleen and liver, and anemia. In the latter case, the disease is fatal if untreated.

The Kuvin Center’s mission is to study the cause and effect of vector-borne diseases and to find and implement strategies to reduce or eliminate the impact of those diseases. The center is part of the Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada (IMRIC) in the Faculty of Medicine.

Dr. Sanford Kuvin, founder and international board chairman of the Kuvin Center, said, “This declaration by the Ministry of Health is really good news for both the center and the Hebrew University. It is a tribute to the excellence of Kuvin Center scientists and points to the center as the main address for infectious and tropical disease research in the Middle East.”

The new designation by the Ministry of Health is a “welcome form of recognition,” added Prof. Charles Jaffe of the Kuvin Center. “While we have been conducting leishmaniasis tests for the past 10 years, we will benefit from increased interaction with the ministry on epidemiological mapping of leishmaniasis and help the ministry to map the disease in a methodical way.”

Source: Dept. Media Relations, Hebrew University