Case Report| Volume 47, ISSUE 1, P77-81, July 2003

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Visceral leishmaniasis. Persistence of parasites in lymph nodes after clinical cure


      Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is generally associated with severe immunodeficiency (AIDS; renal, liver, and heart transplantations; haemopoietic malignancies). More rarely it can be related to an immunotolerence status such as pregnancy. Various observations report the development of leishmaniasis several months or even years after exposure to the parasite. Relapses occur rarely in patients not known to be immunocompromised, but are common after incomplete treatment. They are frequent in patients with Leishmania/HIV co-infection. Asymptomatic phases and relapses suggest that parasite can exist in the tissues for a long time before and/or after clinical onset of the disease.
      The mechanisms of onset of clinical leishmaniasis following exposure and infestation are highly relevant to understanding the pathology of the disease. The survival of Leishmania parasite between infection and disease or after cure is a very important issue for clinicians and epidemiologists. We describe two cases of VL occurring in a patient with lymphoma and in a pregnant woman. In both cases, parasites remained present in the lymph nodes after clinical cure.


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