L infantum was isolated from cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) skin lesions in patients having no signs and symptoms of visceral leishmaniasis (VL). Similarly, L. tropica had previously been isolated from patients with VL in the absence of cutaneous lesions. It was not certain how visceralization occurred. Smears (207) and bone marrow samples (135) were taken from CL and VL-suspected patients, respectively. Microscopic examination, ITS1-PCR, RFLP and DNA sequencing for all samples were analyzed. The microscopic examination of smears was found to be 61.3% (127/207) in CL-suspected cases and bone marrow samples were found to be positive 8.8% (12/135) in VL-suspected cases. L tropica 48.6% (72/148), L infantum 35.8% (53/148), L major 15.6% (23/148) in CL, and L. infantum 56.3% (18/32), L. donovani 31.2% (10/32), L. tropica 12.5% (4/32) in VL were found with PCR-RFLP. In addition, the DNA sequencing revealed a genetic variation in L. infantum (variants 1-3) and L. tropica (variants 1-5). We assume that the increased disease occurrence may have resulted from geographical expansion of disease, changing patterns of international travel, population migrations, non-immune people into endemic regions of infected people into non-endemic regions. In this study, L infantum (variant 3) only in CL-patients and L tropica (variant 2) only in VL-patients were identified. We hypothesize that genetic variation might play a role in the causation of CL and VL in southern Turkey and the genetic variants may differ according to the geographical location among Leishmania strains. (C) 2015 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.