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In Libo Kemkem (a district of Amhara region, Ethiopia), no cases of kala-azar had ever been reported until 2005 when an outbreak occurred. Over one-third of those cases were children under 15 years of age. The aim of the present study was to determine the prevalence of Leishmania infection in children aged 4–15 years. A cross-sectional survey was conducted in 2009. Children participating in the survey were selected using a three-stage cluster sampling method. A total of 386 children were included in the study. The overall prevalence of Leishmania infection (direct agglutination test- and/or rK39 immunochromatographic test- and/or leishmanin skin test-positive subjects) in this population was 1.02% (95% confidence interval = 0–4.54), and prevalence was higher in boys and children older than 12 years. Only one case of active disease was encountered. The results suggest that the conditions responsible for the outbreak no longer reign. However, active surveillance remains necessary.
Financial support: We also gratefully acknowledge the financial support of the UBS–Optimus Foundation (Switzerland) through the Visceral Leishmaniasis and Malnutrition in Amhara State, Ethiopia Project. Support was also provided by the Instituto de Salud Carlos III through Tropical Diseases Research Network Grants RICET RD06/0021/0009 and RD06/0021/0000.
Authors' addresses: Luis Sordo and Fernando Simón, Centro Nacional de Epidemiología, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, CIBER en Epidemiología y Salud Pública (CIBERESP), Madrid, Spain, E-mails: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com. Endalamaw Gadisa, Abraham Aseffa, and Hailu Tsegaye, Armauer Hansen Research Institute, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, E-mails: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, and firstname.lastname@example.org. Estefanía Custodio, Centro Nacional de Medicina Tropical, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid, Spain, E-mail: email@example.com. Israel Cruz, Javier Moreno, Javier Nieto, Carmen Chicharro, and Carmen Cañavate, World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Leishmaniasis, Servicio de Parasitología, Centro Nacional de Microbiología, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Madrid, Spain, E-mails: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, and firstname.lastname@example.org. Zelalem Abebe, Amhara Regional State Research Laboratory, Bahir Dar, Ethiopia, E-mail: email@example.com.