A neglected tropical disease, kala azar is caused by a parasite, spread to humans through the bite of infected female sand flies. It attacks the immune system and is almost always fatal if not treated.
Also known as visceral leishmaniasis, kala azar is the most serious form of leishmaniasis and is endemic in 76 countries, with hundreds of millions at risk of infection. There are between 50,000 and 90,000 new cases a year, about 90 per cent of which occur in Brazil, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan and Sudan. Between 1989 and 2020, MSF teams treated nearly 150,000 people for kala azar; over a third in South Sudan.
Diagnosis and treatment of the disease, especially of the variety found in eastern Africa, can be complex and painful.
Clinical Epidemiology, Diagnosis and Treatment of Visceral Leishmaniasis in the Pokot Endemic Area of Uganda and Kenya
Five-Year Field Results and Long-Term Effectiveness of 20 mg/kg Liposomal Amphotericin B (Ambisome) for Visceral Leishmaniasis in Bihar, India
Medical care in South Sudan's Batil camp
Fighting Neglect: Finding ways to manage and control visceral leishmaniasis, human African trypanosomiasis and Chagas disease
New MSF report highlights how to break cycle of neglect
Combating tropical diseases: What is still missing
MSF statement in response to Gilead donation of AmBisome for visceral leishmaniasis
East African HIV programmes must wake up to visceral leishmaniasis
Fighting kala azar in Bihar
Kala Azar treatment brings lifelong immunity
One year after opening a kala azar center in Sudan
Fighting kala azar in southern Sudan
MSF Field Research
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