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.
Southern Sudan in grips of worst kala azar outbreak in eight years.
Slum conditions in Bangladesh pose health hazards, and malnutrition is a sign of other illnesses
MSF increases capacity in response to kala azar outbreak in South Sudan
Hope for kala azar sufferers in Bangladesh
Facing up to reality: Health crisis deepens as violence escalates in Southern Sudan
MSF responds to serious kala azar outbreak in southern Sudan
The strain on the host families is tremendous: Internal displacement from the Swat valley
If you can prick a finger, you can test for kala azar
More dead than alive - surviving kala azar
MSF activities still remain high in southern Sudan
Increasing numbers, unchanging needs
The disease of the 'untouchables'
MSF Field Research
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