• Comparison of an rK39 dipstick rapid test with direct agglutination test and splenic aspiration for the diagnosis of kala-azar in Sudan.

      Veeken, H; Ritmeijer, K; Seaman, J; Davidson, R N; Médecins sans Frontières-Holland, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. hans_veeken@amsterdam.msf.org (Wiley-Blackwell, 2003-02)
      We compared an rK39 dipstick rapid test (Amrad ICT, Australia) with a direct agglutination test (DAT) and splenic aspirate for the diagnosis of kala-azar in 77 patients. The study was carried out under field conditions in an endemic area of north-east Sudan. The sensitivity of the rK39 test compared with splenic aspiration was 92% (46/50), the specificity 59% (16/27), and the positive predictive value 81% (46/57). Compared with the diagnostic protocol used by Médecins sans Frontières, the sensitivity of the rK39 test was 93% (50/54), the specificity 70% (16/23), and the positive predictive value 88% (50/57). Compared with splenic aspirates, the sensitivity of a DAT with a titre > or =1:400 was 100% (50/50), but its specificity only 55% (15/27) and the positive predictive value was 80% (50/62). Using a DAT titre > or =1:6400, the sensitivity was 84% (42/50), the specificity 85% (23/27) and the positive predictive value 91% (42/46). All four patients with DAT titre > or =1:6400 but negative splenic aspirate were also rK39 positive; we consider these are probably 'true' cases of kala-azar, i.e. false negative aspirates, rather than false DAT and rK39 seropositives. There were no false negative DATs (DAT titre < or =1:400 and aspirate positive), but there were four false negative rK39 tests (rK39 negative and aspirate positive). The rK39 dipstick is a good screening test for kala-azar; but further development is required before it can replace the DAT as a diagnostic test in endemic areas of the Sudan.
    • Comparison of Generic and Proprietary Sodium Stibogluconate for the Treatment of Visceral Leishmaniasis in Kenya.

      Moore, E; O'Flaherty, D; Heuvelmans, H; Seaman, J; Veeken, H; de Wit, S; Davidson, R N; Médecins Sans Frontières-Holland (MSF-H) Kala-azar Programme, South Sudan/Kenya. (Published by WHO, 2001)
      OBJECTIVE: To compare the use of generic and proprietary sodium stibogluconate for the treatment of visceral leishmaniasis (kala-azar). METHODS: A total of 102 patients with confirmed kala-azar were treated in a mission hospital in West Pokot region, Kenya, with sodium stibogluconate (20 mg/kg/day for 30 days)--either as Pentostam (PSM) or generic sodium stibogluconate (SSG); 51 patients were allocated alternately to each treatment group. FINDINGS: There were no significant differences in baseline demographic characteristics or disease severity, or in events during treatment. There were 3 deaths in the PSM group and 1 in the SSG group; 2 patients defaulted in each group. Only 1 out of 80 test-of-cure splenic aspirates was positive for Leishmania spp.; this patient was in the SSG group. Follow-up after > or = 6 months showed that 6 out of 58 patients had relapsed, 5 in the SSG group and 1 in the PSM group. No outcome variable was significantly different between the two groups. CONCLUSION: The availability of cheaper generic sodium stibogluconate, subject to rigid quality controls, now makes it possible for the health authorities in kala-azar endemic areas to provide treatment to many more patients in Africa.
    • 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.
    • A randomized comparison of branded sodium stibogluconate and generic sodium stibogluconate for the treatment of visceral leishmaniasis under field conditions in Sudan.

      Veeken, H; Ritmeijer, K; Seaman, J; Davidson, R N; Médecins Sans Frontières Holland, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. hans_veeken@amsterdam.msf.org (Wiley-Blackwell, 2000-05)
      OBJECTIVE: To compare the outcome of treatment of Sudanese kala-azar patients treated under field conditions with either branded sodium stibogluconate (SSG) (Pentostam GlaxoWellcome) or generic SSG (Albert David Ltd, Calcutta, supplied by International Dispensary Association, Amsterdam). METHOD: Randomised comparison. 271 patients were treated with Pentostam and 245 with generic SSG. RESULTS: No statistically significant differences in cure rate or mortality were detected between Pentostam and generic SSG. No differences in side-effects between the two drugs were noted. The initial cure rate at the time of discharge was 93.7 and 97.6%, respectively; the death rate during treatment 5.9 and 2.4%. Six months follow up was achieved in 88.5% of the discharged patients. Two patients had died in the Pentostam group and two had died in the generic SSG group, giving a final death rate of 7.5 and 3.7%. The number of relapses in the Pentostam and generic SSG groups were 3 and 1, respectively. The final cure rates, calculated at 6 months after discharge, were 91.3% and 95.9%. CONCLUSION: No difference was observed in the performance of generic SSG compared to Pentostam for the treatment of visceral leishmaniasis in Sudan. Generic SSG can be routinely and safely used for the treatment of kala-azar. Generic SSG costs only 1/14 of the price of Pentostam. The use of generic SSG may make treatment of kala-azar affordable for national governments in Africa.