Visceral Leishmaniasis

What is Visceral Leishmaniasis?

Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is a rare disease, which is characterized by irregular bouts of fever, substantial weight loss, swelling of the spleen and liver, and anaemia (which may be serious). It is commonly known as kala-azar. It usually occurs a month or two after being bitten by a sand fly.

Almost 500,000 new cases occur each year around the world. The clinical forms of this disease can be treated with the pentavalent antimonial compounds.


Symptoms may appear a month or two after the bite of the sand fly. This includes:

  • Weight loss.
  • Weakness.
  • Cough.
  • Fever.
  • Enlarged liver and spleen.
  • Reduction of RBCs (red blood cells) in the blood.
  • Bleeding.
  • Night sweating.
  • Increase in hair fall.



The main causes of this disease are:

  • Protozoan parasites from the leishmania species.
  • Bite of an infected sand fly.
  • Shared needle.
  • Open cut area.



The geographical condition and the sand fly bite are two of the primary factors to affect a person.


The following can be done to prevent oneself from being bitten by a sand fly:

  • Cover full body during an outing or field trip.
  • Use insect repellent on exposed skin.
  • Spray insecticides indoors weekly.
  • Use of bed net.

How is it diagnosed?

At Medanta, our doctor will examine the size of the liver and spleen in the body. For that, they perform:


How is it treated?

Visceral leishmaniasis disease can be dealt by means of:


  • Drugs

    There are drugs that contain antimony, and also include meglumine antimoniate and sodium stibogluconate.

  • Chemotherapy

    This is another method adopted to treat the patient with the disease.

When do I contact the doctor?

It is important to contact a doctor, as soon as you feel sick and unhealthy. Since, one cannot recall about being bitten by a sand fly, it would be hard to diagnose quickly. 

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How does Medanta provide care?


Consult with experienced doctors

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