Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is a very rare disease that is characterized by irregular bouts of fever, substantial weight loss, swelling of the spleen and liver, and anemia (which can be serious).
It is commonly known as kala-azar. Visceral leishmaniasis usually occurs a month or two after being bitten by a sand fly.
Almost 500,000 new cases occur each year around the world. The clinical forms of this disease can be treated with the pentavalent antimonial compounds.
Causes of Visceral Leishmaniasis
The main causes of visceral leishmaniasis are:
- Protozoan parasites from the leishmania species
- Bite of an infected sand fly
- Shared needle
- Open cut area
Risks related to Visceral Leishmaniasis
The environmental conditions and the sand fly bite are two of the primary factors that can affect a person.
The following steps can be ensured to prevent one from being bitten by a sand fly:
- Cover full body during an outing or field trip
- Use insect repellent on exposed skin
- Spray insecticides indoors weekly
- Use of bed net
How is Visceral Leishmaniasis diagnosed?
Doctor will examine the size of the liver and spleen in the body. For that, they perform:
- Bone Marrow Test
- Blood Tests
Symptoms of Visceral Leishmaniasis
Symptoms of visceral leishmaniasis may appear a month or two after the bite of the sand fly. This includes:
- Weight loss
- Enlarged liver and spleen
- Reduction of RBCs (red blood cells) in the blood
- Night sweating
- Increase in hair fall
How is Visceral Leishmaniasis treated?
Visceral leishmaniasis disease can be dealt by means of:
- Drugs - There are drugs that contain antimony, and also include meglumine antimoniate and sodium stibogluconate.
- Chemotherapy - This is another method adopted to treat the patient with the disease.