Current clinical, laboratory, and treatment outcome characteristics of visceral leishmaniasis: results from a seven-year retrospective study in Greece
AuthorGeorgiadou, S. P.; Stefos, A.; Spanakos, G.; Skrimpas, S.; Makaritsis, K.; Sipsas, N. V.; Dalekos, G. N.
Objectives: Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is re-emerging in endemic areas. The epidemiological, clinical, laboratory, and treatment outcome characteristics in a large cohort of VL patients is described herein. Methods: The cases of 67 VL patients (57% male, mean age 56 years) treated in two Greek hospitals over the last 7 years were identified and evaluated retrospectively. Results: Forty-six percent of patients reported contact with animals. Seventeen patients (25%) were immunocompromised, and 22% were co-infected with another pathogen. Sixty-four percent of patients had fever, 57% had weakness, 37% had sweats, 21% had weight loss, and 13% had a dry cough, while 6% developed haemophagocytic syndrome. The median duration of symptoms was 28 days. Fifty-eight percent of patients had splenomegaly, 49% had hepatomegaly, and 36% had lymphadenopathy. The diagnosis was established by positive PCR in peripheral blood (73%) and/or bone marrow specimens (34%). Sixty-one patients (91%) received liposomal amphotericin (L-AMB). Six patients (10%) did not respond or relapsed but were eventually cured after a second cycle of L-AMB. During a 6-month followup, the overall mortality was 9%, although none of these deaths was attributed to VL. Conclusions: VL is still a common disease in endemic areas, affecting immunocompetent and immunocompromised patients. Its diagnosis is challenging, and molecular techniques are valuable and helpful tools to achieve this. Treatment with L-AMB is safe and very effective. (C) 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier Ltd on behalf of International Society for Infectious Diseases.