• Epidemiology and Clinical Features of Patients with Visceral Leishmaniasis Treated by an MSF Clinic in Bakool Region, Somalia, 2004-2006.

      Raguenaud, M E; Jansson, A; Vanlerberghe, V; Van der Auwera, G; Deborggraeve, S; Dujardin, J C C; Orfanos, G; Reid, T; Boelaert, M; Médecins Sans Frontières, Medical Department, Brussels, Belgium. (Public Library of Science, 2007)
      BACKGROUND: There are few reports describing the epidemiology of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) in Somalia. Over the years 2002 to 2005, a yearly average of 140 patients were reported from the Huddur centre in Bakool region, whereas in 2006, this number rose to 1002 patients. Given the limited amount of information on VL and the opportunity to compare features with the studies done in 2000 in this part of Somalia, we describe the epidemiologic and clinical features of patients who presented to the Huddur treatment centre of Bakool region, Somalia, using data routinely collected over a five-year observation period (2002-2006). METHODOLOGY: Methods used included the analysis of routine data on VL cases treated in the Huddur treatment centre, a retrospective study of records of patients admitted between 2004 and 2006, community leaders interviews, and analysis of blood specimens taken for parasite species identification in Antwerp Institute of Tropical Medicine. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A total of 1671 VL patients were admitted to the Huddur centre from January 2002 until December 2006. Nearly all patients presented spontaneously to the health centre. Since 2002, the average patient load was stable, with an average of 140 admissions per year. By the end of 2005, the number of admissions dramatically increased to reach a 7-fold increase in 2006. The genotype of L. donovani identified in 2006 was similar to the one reported in 2002. 82% of total patients treated for VL originated from two districts of Bakool region, Huddur and Tijelow districts. Clinical recovery rate was 93.2% and case fatality rate 3.9%. CONCLUSIONS: After four years of low but constant VL case findings, a major increase in VL was observed over a 16-month period in the Huddur VL centre. The profile of the patients was pediatric and mortality relatively low. Decentralized treatment centers, targeted active screening, and community sensitization will help decrease morbidity and mortality from VL in this endemic area. The true magnitude of VL in Somalia remains unknown. Further documentation to better understand transmission dynamics and thus define appropriate control measures will depend on the stability of the context and safe access to the Somali population.
    • Kala-azar outbreak in Libo Kemkem, Ethiopia: epidemiologic and parasitologic assessment.

      Alvar, J; Bashaye, S; Argaw, D; Cruz, I; Aparicio, P; Kassa, A; Orfanos, G; Parreño, F; Babaniyi, O; Gudeta, N; et al. (2007-08)
      In May 2005, visceral leishmaniasis (VL) was recognized for the first time in Libo Kemkem, Ethiopia. In October 2005, a rapid assessment was conducted using data from 492 patients with VL treated in the district health center and a household survey of 584 residents of four villages. One subdistrict accounted for 71% of early cases, but the incidence and number of affected subdistricts increased progressively throughout 2004-2005. In household-based data, we identified 9 treated VL cases, 12 current untreated cases, and 19 deaths attributable to VL (cumulative incidence, 7%). Thirty percent of participants were leishmanin skin test positive (men, 34%; women, 26%; P = 0.06). VL was more common in men than women (9.7% versus 4.5%, P < 0.05), possibly reflecting male outdoor sleeping habits. Molecular typing in splenic aspirates showed L. infantum (six) and L. donovani (one). Local transmission resulted from multiple introductions, is now well established, and will be difficult to eradicate.
    • Natural history of a visceral leishmaniasis outbreak in highland Ethiopia

      Herrero, M; Orfanos, G; Argaw, D; Mulugeta, A; Aparicio, P; Parreño, F; Bernal, O; Rubens, D; Pedraza, J; Lima, M A; et al. (American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 2009-09-01)
      In May 2005, visceral leishmaniasis (VL) was recognized for the first time in Libo Kemken, Ethiopia, a highland region where only few cases had been reported before. We analyzed records of VL patients treated from May 25, 2005 to December 13, 2007 by the only VL treatment center in the area, maintained by Médecins Sans Frontières-Ethiopia, Operational Center Barcelona-Athens. The median age was 18 years; 77.6% were male. The overall case fatality rate was 4%, but adults 45 years or older were five times as likely to die as 5-29 year olds. Other factors associated with increased mortality included HIV infection, edema, severe malnutrition, pneumonia, tuberculosis, and vomiting. The VL epidemic expanded rapidly over a several-year period, culminating in an epidemic peak in the last third of 2005, spread over two districts, and transformed into a sustained endemic situation by 2007.