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First Case of Indigenous Visceral Leishmaniasis from Central India

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  • 1 Division of Clinical Microbiology, Department of Laboratory Medicine, All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, India
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Visceral leishmaniasis is endemic in the eastern states of India, but central India remains free of leishmaniais. This report describes the first indigenous case of visceral leishmaniasis in a seven-year-old girl from central India. The child presented with fever for 10 days and was diagnosed by bone marrow examination, serology using rKE16 and rK39 antigens, and a polymerase chain reaction specific for the kinesin gene. Sequencing of the immunodominant region of the kinesin gene of the parasite showed four tandem repeats, each 117 basepairs. The first tandem repeat of this strain had 97% homology with the corresponding first tandem repeat of the Leishmania donovani KE16 strain and 92% homology with the L. chagasi BA-2 strain. The second, third, and fourth tandem repeats had 97%, 98%, and 99% homology, respectively, with the L. donovani KE16 strain, and 89%, 96%, and 92% homology, respectively, with the L. chagasi BA-2 strain. This case shows that more than one genetic variant of L. donovani is circulating in various parts of India.