More Funding For Leishmaniasis Treatment Could Save More Lives In East African Outbreak

“East Africa’s worst outbreak in a decade of visceral leishmaniasis, the deadliest parasitic disease after malaria, could ease if donors paid more attention to the illness,” which infects approximately 500,000 people and kills up to 60,000 annually in 70 countries, the non-profit group “Leishmaniasis East Africa Platform, or LEAP, said in a statement from Nairobi” on Friday, Bloomberg reports.

Additional funding to fight the disease would allow for increased access to a new shorter and more affordable combination treatment developed by LEAP and the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative and approved by the WHO, according to the news agency. The disease, also called kala azar, is spread through the bite of infected sand flies and usually kills within two years if untreated, the news agency notes (McGregor, 9/23).