Cutaneous, mucocutaneous and visceral leishmaniasis in Sweden from 1996-2016: A retrospective study of clinical characteristics, treatments and outcomes 11 Medical and Health Sciences 1103 Clinical Sciences

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Background: Leishmaniasis is a neglected and poorly reported parasitic infection transmitted by sand flies in tropical and subtropical regions. Knowledge about leishmaniasis has become important in non-endemic countries due to increased migration and travel. Few studies of the clinical management of cutaneous, mucocutaneous and visceral leishmaniasis in non-endemic regions have been published to date. In this study, we aimed to evaluate patient characteristics, clinical manifestations and treatments of leishmaniasis in Sweden, over a 20-year period. Methods: A retrospective observational nationwide study was performed using medical records of patients diagnosed with leishmaniasis in Sweden from 1996 to 2016. Cases with culture and polymerase chain reaction verified leishmaniasis were identified at the Public Health Agency of Sweden. Results: In total, 165 cases of leishmaniasis were diagnosed from 1996 to 2016. Medical records from 156 patients (95%) were available for review and included in the study. Cutaneous leishmaniasis was the dominant manifestation (n = 149, 96%), and in 66 patients (44%) cutaneous leishmaniasis was due to Leishmania tropica. Other manifestations were mucocutaneous (n = 4, 3%), visceral (n = 2, 1%) and post-kala-azar dermal leishmaniasis (n = 1, 1%). During this time period, the number of cases increased, especially after 2013. Most patients (n = 81, 52%) were migrants who were infected in their countries of origin (from 2013 to 2016, mainly Syria or Afghanistan). Other groups were Swedish tourists (25%) and returning workers (13%). The time from collection of the diagnostic sample to the start of treatment was less than one month in 81 (66%) patients and under three months in 124 patients (96%). Among the 149 patients with cutaneous leishmaniasis, 125 patients received antileishmanial treatment, and in 88 of these patients (70%) cure was achieved, regardless of treatment. Conclusions: The number of leishmaniasis cases diagnosed in Sweden increased between 1996 and 2016, mainly in migrants from endemic countries. Although leishmaniasis is a rare disease in Sweden, patients appear to be diagnosed early and treated according to current European guidelines, resulting in an overall high cure rate.


Enheter & grupper
Externa organisationer
  • Karolinska University Hospital
  • Karolinska Institute
  • Västra Götalandsregionen

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ) – OBLIGATORISK

  • Infektionsmedicin
TidskriftBMC Infectious Diseases
Utgåva nummer1
StatusPublished - 2018 dec 7
Peer review utfördJa