[Paediatric visceral leishmaniasis: experience of a paediatric referral center 1990-2009].Acta Med Port. 2011 May-Jun; 24(3):399-404.AM
Visceral Leishmaniasis (VL) is a systemic infection, endemic in many parts of the world, including Portugal. The aim is to review all cases of VL admitted to our hospital.
PATIENTS AND METHODS
Retrospective analysis of all cases of VL admitted to a Level III Paediatric Hospital, between January 1990 and December 2009 (20 years). Demographic, epidemiological, clinical, laboratorial, therapeutic and follow-up data were analysed.
During the study period, 54 children were admitted with VL, three of which were excluded from the study due to incomplete clinical records. The mean age was 27 months (seven months - twelve years) and 53% were female. Two thirds of the cases were diagnosed during Spring and Summer. The mean time for diagnosis was 31 days (2-188 days). The most common clinical findings were splenomegaly (100%), fever (96%), pallor (90%) and hepatomegaly (82%). Bone marrow aspiration was performed in all children, with amastigotes identified in 73% of the cases. Indirect immunofluorescence was performed in 30 cases, being positive in 29 (97%). All were treated with meglumine antimoniate. Three children relapsed during the first year after the initial episode. A 17 months-old child died due to cardiac failure.
The early diagnosis of VL is essential to carry out prompt management and prevent potential fatal complications. In our analysis, the management with meglumine antimoniate resulted in an overall favourable outcome.