Volume 57, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is endemic in Sicily. Although it is a notifiable disease, there is evidence that the actual number of cases is higher than that reported. In 1987, a regional reference center for active surveillance of VL was established and it recorded a total of 284 cases through 1995, a mean of 31.5 cases/year and about four-fold more than previously reported. Of the 284 cases, 150 (53%) were children (≤ 14 years of age), and of the 134 adults, 39 (29%) were coinfected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The commonest viscerotropic zymodeme of , MON 1, was identified in 40 (93%) of 43 HIV-negative and eight (57%) of 14 HIV-positive patients. Among 280 patients evaluated (i.e., all HIV-negative and 35 of 39 HIV-positive subjects), 254 (91%) were treated with meglumine antimoniate alone or in combination with other drugs; 23 (8%) received allopurinol or amphotericin B, either conventional or in liposomal form; and three terminally ill patients were not treated. Among the 245 HIV-negative patients, 236 (96%) were successfully cured, while nine (4%) (seven adults) died during the course of antimonial treatment. None of the 35 HIV-positive patients was definitively cured, although mortality was apparently associated with other opportunistic infections.


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