Visceral Leishmaniasis

Genetics discovery to help fight 'black fever'

Scientists—including a geneticist at The University of Western Australia—are a step closer to developing a vaccine against a fatally infectious parasite carried in the bite of sandflies.

Jan 08, 2013
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Visceral leishmaniasis (VL), also known as kala-azar, black fever, and Dumdum fever,:426 is the most severe form of leishmaniasis. Leishmaniasis is a disease caused by protozoan parasites of the Leishmania genus. This disease is the second-largest parasitic killer in the world (after malaria), responsible for an estimated 500,000 cases each year worldwide. The parasite migrates to the internal organs such as liver, spleen (hence 'visceral') and bone marrow, and, if left untreated, will almost always result in the death of the host. Signs and symptoms include fever, weight loss, mucosal ulcers, fatigue, anemia and substantial swelling of the liver and spleen. Of particular concern, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), is the emerging problem of HIV/VL co-infection.

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