Visceral leishmaniasis and HIV in Tigray, Ethiopia

Trop Med Int Health. 2003 Aug;8(8):733-9. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-3156.2003.01088.x.


Objectives: To identify characteristics that increased the risk of mortality in Ethiopian visceral leishmaniasis patients in a treatment programme managed by Médecins sans Frontières, in Tigray, Northern Ethiopia.

Methods: Retrospective review of a cohort of 791 patients treated for visceral leishmaniasis.

Results: The cohort displayed all the classical signs and symptoms of the disease. The case fatality rate was 18.5% (146) (95% CI: 15.8-21.3%). Logistic regression showed that individuals who experienced at least one episode of vomiting or haemorrhage were more likely to die than those who did not. A subcohort of individuals who tested human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)-positive were more than four times more likely to die than those who tested HIV-negative (OR 4.5, 95% CI: 1.8-11.4).

Conclusion: This study identifies characteristics associated with death in this population and highlights the devastating effect of co-infection with visceral leishmaniasis and HIV in the African context.

MeSH terms

  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / complications
  • AIDS-Related Opportunistic Infections / mortality*
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Epidemiologic Studies
  • Ethiopia / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Hemorrhage / parasitology
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Leishmaniasis, Visceral / complications
  • Leishmaniasis, Visceral / mortality*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Odds Ratio
  • Prognosis
  • Vomiting / parasitology