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.
A circus of pain and relief - kala azar in Somalia
Deadly kala azar is still forgotten
Kala azar kills thousands each year
In southern Sudan, this tree is the only hospital for miles
Better access to treatment for Ethiopian kala azar patients
Kala azar complicates HIV/AIDS treatment in Humera
Kala azar outbreak in Ethiopia as rainy season begins
Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi): matching needs and opportunities
Kala-Azar epidemic threatens thousands in South Sudan
Heavy rains in northern Sudan leave kala azar project virtually isolated
DNDi diseases focus
Drugs for neglected diseases
MSF Field Research
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