A neglected disease of humans: A new focus of visceral leishmaniasis in Bakool, Somalia

M. V.L. Marlet, F. Wuillaume, D. Jacquet, K. W. Quispe, J. C. Dujardin, M. Boelaert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) was observed in children in Bakool region, Somalia, an area where VL hasnot been reported before. We describe the extent of the problem in this war- and famine-stricken area. A retrospective analysis was done of all cases admitted to a VL treatment centre between July 2000 and August 2001. Patients with longstanding fever, splenomegaly and a positive direct agglutination test (DAT; titre > 1:3200) were treated as suspected VL cases. A rapid epidemiological and entomological assessment was performed in the area. Species identification was attempted from blood samples by polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis of cysteine proteinase B genes. In 1 year, 230 serologically-positive cases were diagnosed as VL, and response to therapy was good in 91.6% of the 225 treated with sodium stibogluconate. Parasitological confirmation was attempted and obtained in 2 cases. Parasites were found to be most similar to Sudanese and Ethiopian reference strains of the Leishmania donovani complex. In a serological survey of 161 healthy displaced persons, 15% were positive by the leishmanin skin test and 3 (2%) were positive by the DAT. The sandfly captures showed Phlebotomus martini and P. vansomerenae. VL seems to be a longstanding and serious health problem in Bakool region. Food insecurity might have contributed to the emergence and detection of VL in this area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)667-671
Number of pages5
JournalTransactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Volume97
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2003

Keywords

  • Epidemiology
  • Leishmania donovani
  • Outbreak
  • Somalia
  • Visceral leishmaniasis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases

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