AN OUTBREAK of a skin disease that causes ulcers and can lead to inflammation of the liver and spleen is being investigated by health officials.

Cases of leishmaniasis – which usually affects dogs but can spread to humans – have increased from 15 in 2009 to 228 last month.

The rise in the number of cases has centred around Fuenlabrada near Madrid, where vets say between seven and eight per cent of local dogs have the disease.

The Ministry of Health has announced it will investigate the outbreak of leishmaniasis, which can be contracted by humans via sandfly bites.

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