Leishmaniasis, visceral

Leishmaniasis, visceral
A chronic and potentially fatal parasitic disease of the vicera (the internal organs, particularly the liver, spleen, bone marrow and lymph nodes) due to infection by the protozoa Leishmania donovani. Leishmania donovani is transmitted by sandfly bites in parts of Asia (primarily India), Africa (primarily Sudan) and South America (primarily Brazil) where all together there are an estimated half million cases per year. There are also several hundred cases yearly in Europe (primarily in the Mediterranean region) and a few in North America. Visceral leishmaniasis can cause no or few symptoms but typically it is associated with fever, loss of appetite (anorexia), fatigue, enlargement of the liver, spleen and nodes and suppression of the bone marrow. Visceral leishmaniasis also increases the risk of other secondary infections. The first oral drug found to be effective for treating visceral leishmaniasis is miltefosine. Visceral leishmaniasis is known alternatively as Kala-azar.

Medical dictionary. 2011.

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