Descriptive epidemiology of visceral leishmaniasis in Afghanistan, 2018-2022
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Malaria and other Vector Borne Diseases Program of Afghanistan (MVDP), Head of Epidemiology and Surveillance of Malaria and Other Vector Borne Diseases (MVDP) & AFETP fourth cohort resident, Darulaman Road, Sanatorium street, MVDP, Kabul, Afghanistan
Publication date: 2023-04-26
Popul. Med. 2023;5(Supplement):A265
Visceral Leishmaniasis (VL) is fatal if left untreated in 95% of cases. An estimated 50,000 to 90,000 cases of VL occur worldwide annually. Afghanistan is an endemic country for V. This study aims to illustrate the epidemiological profile of VL and report treatment outcomes in Afghanistan.

A descriptive study using secondary data was conducted to reflect the epidemiological profile of VL in Afghanistan. It covers period of 2018-2022 using a paper-based surveillance system at Malaria and other Vector Borne Diseases (MVDP) for VL cases. The study included 18 provinces with confirmed diagnosis. The treatment outcomes were collected by phone calls. Epi Info V7.2.1 was used for data analysis.

Totally 77 VL cases were recorded during 2018-2022 of whom 48 (62%) were males. More than half of 45 (58%) were in age group of 1-3 years while 3 (4%) were in age group of 10-13 years. Geographically, 28 (36%) were reported from Faryab followed by Baghlan 9 (12%) compared to Ghazni 1(1.2%). Four (5%) and 7(9%) cases reported family member with cutaneous leishmaniasis VL respectively. Fever 75 (97%), splenomegaly 71 (92%) and weight loss 26 (34%) were common clinical manifestations. Upon follow-up, 42 out of 77 total cases responded of whom 31 (74%) were cured and 11 (26%) had died. Apparently, 22 (85%) with early diagnosis were cured compared to 9 (56%) with late diagnosis.

Most of the cases were recorded from northern region with high burden in males. Splenomegaly was a prominent clinical feature. Early diagnosis had good outcome compared to late diagnosis. Further study is required to identify the risk factors. Additionally, access to diagnosis is recommended for the betterment of outcome.