Indian Journal of Dermatology
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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 66  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 12-23

Epidemiology of post-kala-azar dermal leishmaniasis

1 Department of Community Medicine, Purulia Government Medical College, Purulia, West Bengal, India
2 Independent Researcher and Public Health Expert, Kolkata, West Bengal, India
3 Department of Microbiology, Purulia Government Medical College, Purulia, West Bengal, India
4 Department of Dermatology, Bankura Sammilani Medical College, Bankura, West Bengal, India

Correspondence Address:
Nilay Kanti Das
Department of Dermatology, Bankura Sammilani Medical College, Bankura, West Bengal
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/ijd.IJD_651_20

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Post-kala-azar dermal leishmaniasis (PKDL) is a cutaneous sequel of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) or kala-azar and has become an entity of epidemiological significance by virtue of its ability to maintain the disease in circulation during inter-epidemic periods. PKDL has been identified as one of the epidemiological marker of “kala-azar elimination programme.” Data obtained in 2018 showed PKDL distribution primarily concentrated in 6 countries, which includes India, Sudan, south Sudan, Bangladesh, Ethiopia, and Nepal in decreasing order of case-burden. In India, PKDL cases are mainly found in 54 districts, of which 33 are in Bihar, 11 in West Bengal, 4 in Jharkhand, and 6 in Uttar Pradesh. In West Bengal the districts reporting cases of PKDL cases include Darjeeling, Uttar Dinajpur, Dakshin Dinajpur, Malda, and Murshidabad. The vulnerability on the young age is documented in various studies. The studies also highlights a male predominance of the disease but recent active surveillance suggested that macular form of PKDL shows female-predominance. It is recommended that along with passive case detection, active survey helps in early identification of cases, thus reducing disease transmission in the community. The Accelerated plan for Kala-azar elimination in 2017 introduced by Government of India with the goal to eliminate Kala-azar as a public health problem, targets to reduceing annual incidence <1/10,000. Leishmania donovani is the established causative agent, but others like L. tropica or L. infantum may occasionally lead to the disease, especially with HIV-co-infection. Dermal tropism of the parasite has been attributed to overexpression of parasite surface receptors (like gp 63, gp46). Various host factors are also identified to contribute to the development of the disease, including high pretreatment IL 10 and parasite level, inadequate dose and duration of treatment, malnutrition, immuno-suppression, decreased interferon-gamma receptor 1 gene, etc. PKDL is mostly concentrated in the plains below an altitude of 600 mts which is attributed to the environment conducive for the vector sand fly (Phlebotumus). Risk factors are also linked to the habitat of the sand fly. Keeping these things in mind “Integrated vector control” is adopted under National vector borne disease control programme as one of the strategies to bring down the disease burden.

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