• Ethiopian visceral leishmaniasis: generic and proprietary sodium stibogluconate are equivalent; HIV co-infected patients have a poor outcome.

      Ritmeijer, K; Veeken, H; Melaku, Y; Leal, G; Amsalu, R; Seaman, J; Davidson, R N; Médecins sans Frontières-Holland, P.O. Box 10014, 1001 EA Amsterdam, The Netherlands. koert_ritmeijer@amsterdam.msf.org (Elsevier, 2008-01-31)
      We evaluated generic sodium stibogluconate (SSG) (International Dispensary Association, Amsterdam) versus Pentostam (sodium stibogluconate, GlaxoWellcome, London) under field conditions in Ethiopian patients with visceral leishmaniasis (VL; kala-azar). The 199 patients were randomly assigned to Pentostam (n = 104) or SSG (n = 95) in 1998/99; both drugs were given at 20 mg/kg intra-muscularly for 30 days. A clinical cure after 30-days treatment was achieved in 70.2% (Pentostam) and 81.1% (SSG). There were no significant differences between the 2 drugs for the following parameters: frequency of intercurrent events (vomiting, diarrhoea, bleeding or pneumonia) or main outcome (death during treatment and death after 6-month follow-up; relapse or post kala-azar dermal leishmaniasis at 6-months follow-up). Twenty-seven patients had confirmed co-infection with HIV. On admission, HIV co-infected VL patients were clinically indistinguishable from HIV-negative VL patients. The HIV co-infected VL patients had a higher mortality during treatment (33.3% vs 3.6%). At 6-month follow-up, HIV-positive patients had a higher relapse rate (16.7% vs 1.2%), a higher death rate during the follow-up period (14.3% vs 2.4%), and more frequent moderate or severe post kala-azar dermal leishmaniasis (27.3% vs 13.3%). Only 43.5% of the HIV-positive patients were considered cured at 6-months follow-up vs 92.1% of the HIV-negative patients. HIV-positive patients relapsing with VL could become a reservoir of antimonial-resistant Leishmania donovani.
    • Evaluation of a New Recombinant K39 Rapid Diagnostic Test for Sudanese Visceral Leishmaniasis.

      Ritmeijer, K; Melaku, Y; Mueller, M; Kipngetich, S; O'keeffe, C; Davidson, R N; Médecins sans Frontières-Holland, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. koert.ritmeijer@amsterdam.msf.org (Published by: American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 2006-01)
      A new rK39 rapid diagnostic dipstick test (DiaMed-IT-Leish) was compared with aspiration and a direct agglutination test (DAT) for diagnosis of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) in 201 parasitologically confirmed cases, 133 endemic controls, and in 356 clinical suspects in disease-endemic and -epidemic areas in Sudan. The sensitivity of the rK39 test in parasitologically confirmed VL cases was 90%, whereas the specificity in disease-endemic controls was 99%. The sensitivity of the DAT was 98%. In clinically suspected cases, the sensitivity of the rK39 test was 81% and the specificity was 97%. When compared with the diagnostic protocol based on the DAT and aspiration used by Médecins sans Frontières in epidemic situations, the positive predictive value was 98%, and the negative predictive value was 71%. This rK39 rapid diagnostic test is suitable for screening as well as diagnosis of VL. Further diagnostic work-up of dipstick-negative patients with clinically suspected VL is important. The ease and convenience of the dipstick test will allow decentralization and improved access to care in disease-endemic areas in Sudan.
    • Treatment of Kala-azar in Southern Sudan Using a 17-day Regimen of Sodium Stibogluconate Combined with Paromomycin: A Retrospective Comparison with 30-day Sodium Stibogluconate Monotherapy.

      Melaku, Y; Collin, S; Keus, K; Gatluak, F; Ritmeijer, K; Davidson, R N; Médecins sans Frontières-Holland, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. (American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 2007-07)
      Médecins sans Frontières-Holland has treated > 67,000 patients with kala-azar (KA) in southern Sudan since 1989. In 2002, we replaced the standard regimen of 30 days of daily sodium stibogluconate (SSG) with a 17-day regimen of daily SSG combined with paromomycin (PM). We analyzed data for 4,263 primary KA patients treated between 2002 and 2005 in southern Sudan to determine the relative efficacy of the combination therapy regimen (PM/SSG). The initial cure rate among patients treated with PM/SSG was 97.0% compared with 92.4% among patients treated with SSG monotherapy. Relative efficacy of PM/SSG compared with SSG increased over the study period: odds of death in the PM/SSG group were 44% lower (odds ratio [OR] = 0.56, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 0.37-0.84) in 2002, 78% lower (OR = 0.22, 95% CI = 0.10-0.50) in 2003, and 86% lower (OR = 0.14, 95% CI = 0.07-0.27) in 2004-2005. In remote field settings, 17 days of SSG combined with PM gives better survival and initial cure rates than 30 days of SSG monotherapy.