Visceral leishmaniasis (also known as kala-azar) affects people in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Programs reported 16,969 cases in 2018. Visceral leishmaniasis is caused by the infected bites of sandflies that breed in and around homes or farms.
If visceral leishmaniasis progresses, it attacks the immune system and affects the bone marrow and internal organs (including enlargement and impaired function of the spleen and liver), as well as causing irregular bouts of fever, substantial weight loss and anaemia. Without treatment, visceral leishmaniasis can have a fatality rate as high as 100% within two years.
The disease is linked to poverty.