Mediterranean visceral leishmaniasis in HIV-negative adults: a retrospective analysis of 64 consecutive cases (1995–2001)

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AimTo evaluate in a retrospective analysis cases of Mediterranean visceral leishmaniasis (VL) diagnosed in HIV-negative adults during a 7-year period.Materials and methodsDemographic data, previous or underlying diseases, clinical and laboratory features and therapeutic findings were considered.ResultsA total of 64 patients were included, of whom 10 (16%) had underlying diseases and two were pregnant. Fever and hepatosplenomegaly were the main presenting symptoms, whereas pancytopenia and an elevated erythrocyte sedimentation rate were observed in all cases. Smears from bone marrow aspirate were positive at microscopy in 62 cases (97%). Twenty-four patients received meglumine antimoniate (MA) given during 21 consecutive days (20 mg/kg per day), and 40 patients liposomal amphotericin B (l-AmB) given at days 1–5 and 10 (3 mg/kg per day). Both groups’ clinical and laboratory findings improved, but patients on l-AmB therapy had a faster recovery (85% on l-AmB therapy and 50% on MA therapy showed defervescence at day 5, P < 0.01). Treatment failures were observed in five cases, three (12%) on MA and two (5%) on l-AmB therapy. No significant toxicity was observed in patients treated with l-AmB, whereas three (12%) patients treated with MA showed electrocardiographic abnormalities.Conclusionsl-AmB therapy may be considered the treatment of choice for any adult patients with Mediterranean VL, since it permits a faster recovery, has a lower incidence of side effects and is useful also in immunosuppressed patients.

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