Clinical features and epidemiology of cutaneous leishmaniasis and Leishmania major/HIV co-infection in Cameroon: results of a large cross-sectional study

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Biological Sciences

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Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is endemic in Central Africa, including Cameroon. However, data on its prevalence and co-infection with HIV are scarce. Here we present the results of a large cross-sectional study reporting the prevalence, clinical features and species identification of CL and HIV co-infection in northern Cameroon. A total of 32466 subjects were clinically screened for CL during a door-to-door survey, followed by parasitological diagnosis in the field laboratory. Amongst the subjects surveyed, 146 (0.4%) were diagnosed with active CL. Seven (4.8%) of these 146 CL patients tested positive for HIV-1 and/or HIV-2. The number of lesions per CL patient ranged from 1 to 20. Three of the five subjects with >10 active lesions were co-infected with HIV. In both CL and HIV co-infected subjects, three successful parasite isolates were identified as Leishmania major by PCR. This first report of L. major/HIV co-infection in Cameroon and Central Africa confirms the endemicity of CL in the region and highlights a worsened CL pathology in HIV co-infected individuals. These findings provide important data necessary for the development and implementation of successful control programmes against CL and HIV in this geographical area.


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Transactions of The Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene


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