What are the complications of leishmaniasis?

Updated: Feb 18, 2020
  • Author: Craig G Stark, MD, FACP, FFTM, RCPS(Glasg), FISTM; Chief Editor: Pranatharthi Haran Chandrasekar, MBBS, MD  more...
  • Print

Complications of leishmaniasis occur as a consequence of anemia, leukopenia, and thrombocytopenia. They may include the following:

  • Secondary bacterial infection, including pneumonia and tuberculosis

  • Septicemia

  • Disfigurement of nose, lips, and palate (eg, cancrum oris)

  • Uncontrolled bleeding

  • Splenic rupture

  • Late stages: Edema, cachexia, and hyperpigmentation

  • Metastatic lesions in the nasopharynx with tissue destruction

Coinfection with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can also complicate cases of visceral leishmaniasis. A well-described and feared interaction is kala-azar in combination with HIV infection, which leads to more severe and rapidly progressive fatal outcomes from both diseases acting synergistically.

Did this answer your question?
Additional feedback? (Optional)
Thank you for your feedback!