Study of Visceral Leishmaniasis (Kala-azar) in Children of Nepal


  • Durga Datt Joshi WHO Expert Panel Member on Zoonoses, Executive Chairman, National Zoonoses and Food Hygiene Research Centre (NZFHRC), Chagal, Kathmandu



Epidemiology, Leishmaniasis, Kala-azar, Sandfly


Introduction: Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) or Kala-azar is a potentially fatal vector-borne (sand fly phlebotomies spp) zoonotic disease caused by a protozoan parasite, Leishmania donovani. In Nepal, the disease is restricted to the Eastern Terai region which lies adjacent to the Bihar state of India. Although leishmaniasis is regarded as a significant health problem in Nepal by the Ministry of Health, there is no active case detection programme in the country.
Objective: Objectives of this study were to determine the up-to-date morbidity and mortality trend for VL in children of Nepal.
Method: The epidemiological surveillance team from the NZFHRC visited to eight zonal hospitals in Terai region during the month from September to December of each year 2003 to 2007. The morbidity and mortality data up to the year 2007 were collected every year. The team has also collected 66 blood serum samples of which 18 samples from children were collected for the diagnosis.
Results: A total 25890 cases with 599 deaths were reported during the year 1980-2006. The case fatality rate (CFR) varied from 0.23% to 13.2%. Districtwise analysis showed that, during 2003, highest incidence was in Mahottari district (184/100,000), followed by Sarlahi (100/100,000) and Sunsari (96/100,000). The highest CFR was in Dhanusha (2.9%) followed by Bara (2.4%) and Saptari (2.0%). Majority (70.9%) of persons affected by VL were aged 15 years and above, followed by 10-14 years (13.9%), 5-9 years (11.9%) and 1-4 years (3.3%). VL cases recorded from different district of Nepal for the year 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 are recorded. CFR for the year 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007 were 3.2%, 3.7%, 16.67% and 11.42% respectively.
Conclusions: There should be regular surveillance research work to be carried out in endemic area. Mass public health education, to make the people aware about preventive aspects of the disease is important. The possibility of the existence of animal reservoirs as zoonotic disease should also be considered. This disease is very much serious in children below 15 years of age both in male and female, therefore it is essential to have paediatrician post at least in all VL six endemic districts.

Key words: Epidemiology, Leishmaniasis, Kala-azar, Sandfly  

doi: 10.3126/jnps.v29i2.2041

J. Nepal Paediatr. Soc. Vol 29, No. 2, pp.67-73


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How to Cite

Joshi, D. D. (2009). Study of Visceral Leishmaniasis (Kala-azar) in Children of Nepal. Journal of Nepal Paediatric Society, 29(2), 67–73.



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