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...
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Answer

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.


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