Leishmaniasis - Kala-Azar

Kala-Azar - the black disease

The most severe form of the disease is visceral leishmaniasis, which affects the internal organs. It occurs in more than 88 countries - especially in Brazil, on the Indian subcontinent and in Sudan. According to estimates by the World Health Organization (WHO), around 500, 000 people fall ill each year with Kala-Azar.

Symptoms of Kala-Azar

The disease, which can now be treated with antibiotics, ends without treatment always deadly. The term Kala-Azar comes from the Persian and means something like "black disease": in this form of leishmaniasis, the skin turns blackish. After an incubation period of three to six months - sometimes only years - the patient experiences flu-like symptoms.

  • High fever,
  • increasing malaise,
  • Nausea,
  • Vomit,
  • Diarrhea,
  • Swollen glands,
  • Bronchitis and
  • Upper abdominal pain due to enlargement of the liver and spleen.

The patients lose a lot of weight, the organ attack by the parasites inflates the stomach.

How is the disease transmitted?

All Leishmanioses are triggered by single-celled parasites that are transmitted by sand or butterfly mosquitoes. The parasites usually live in rodents, dogs and foxes. From there, they enter the intestine of the insect through a first mosquito bite, where they multiply and develop. In a second mosquito bite, the parasites are then transferred to humans. There is no vaccine against leishmaniasis. The only protection are garments with long arms and legs, as well as a consistent, consistent mosquito repellent.

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