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1. a chronic disease, occurring in India, China, Pakistan, the Mediterranean littoral, the Middle East, South and Central America, Asia, and Africa caused by Leishmania donovani and transmitted by the bite of an appropriate species of sandfly of the genus Phlebotomus or Lutzomyia; the organisms grow and multiply in macrophages, eventually causing them to burst and liberate amastigote parasites, which then invade other macrophages; proliferation of macrophages in the bone marrow crowds out erythroid and myeloid elements, resulting in leukopenia, anemia, splenomegaly, and hepatomegaly, that are characteristic, along with enlargement of lymph nodes; fever, fatigue, malaise, and secondary infections also occur; different strains of L. donovani occur; L. infantum in Eurasia, L. chagasi in Latin America.
2. visceral leishmaniasis caused by L. tropica, cultured from bone marrow aspirates of some military patients following the Gulf War.
Synonym(s): Assam fever, black sickness, Burdwan fever, cachectic fever, Dumdum fever, kala azar, tropic splenomegaly
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