Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is among the most neglected of the tropical diseases, afflicting the poorest of the poor. In eastern Africa, VL causes at least 4000 deaths annually, a loss of approximately 385,000 disability-adjusted life years. Due to the chronicity of underlying causes, it is likely that the caseload will increase in the foreseeable future. While efforts should be pursued to develop novel case management and prevention tools, several effective interventions already exist but are rarely deployed. Funds are needed now to procure commodities and strengthen health systems, so that effective VL control can be delivered to populations at risk.
Visceral leishmaniasis in eastern Africa--current status