Post kala-azar dermal leishmaniasis: A threat to elimination program

PLoS Negl Trop Dis. 2020 Jul 2;14(7):e0008221. doi: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0008221. eCollection 2020 Jul.


Leishmaniasis remains a public health concern around the world that primarily affects poor folks of the developing world spanning across 98 countries with mortality of 0.2 million to 0.4 million annually. Post kala-azar dermal leishmaniasis (PKDL) is the late skin manifestation of visceral leishmaniasis (VL). It has been reported that about 2.5% to 20% of patients recovered from VL develop PKDL having stilted macular or nodular lesions with parasites. In the Indian subcontinent (ISC), it manifests a few months after recovery from VL, though in Africa it can occur simultaneously with VL or a little later. New cases of PKDL are also observed without prior VL in the ISC. These individuals with PKDL represent an important but largely neglected reservoir of infection that perpetuates anthroponotic Leishmania donovani transmission in the ISC and can jeopardize the VL elimination program as these cases can infect the sand flies and spread the endemic. Therefore, it becomes imperative to eradicate PKDL as a part of the VL elimination program. With the limited treatment options besides little knowledge on PKDL, this review stands out in focusing on different aspects that should be dealt for sustained VL elimination.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Antimony Sodium Gluconate / adverse effects
  • Biomarkers
  • Genetic Predisposition to Disease
  • Humans
  • Immunologic Memory
  • Leishmaniasis, Cutaneous / diagnosis
  • Leishmaniasis, Cutaneous / etiology*
  • Leishmaniasis, Cutaneous / genetics
  • Leishmaniasis, Cutaneous / prevention & control
  • Leishmaniasis, Visceral / complications*
  • Leishmaniasis, Visceral / drug therapy


  • Biomarkers
  • Antimony Sodium Gluconate