Visceral leishmaniasis in hematopoietic cell transplantation: Case report and review of the literature

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Visceral leishmaniasis has been recognized as an opportunistic infection affecting people with cellular-immunity impairment, including hematopoietic cell transplantation (HCT) recipients. We describe the case of a young Italian man with Hodgkin lymphoma, who developed visceral leishmaniasis after multiple lines of chemotherapy and allogenic HCT. Literature review of visceral leishmaniasis in HCT recipients was also performed. Eleven patients (median age 50 years, 9 male) developed visceral leishmaniasis after allogenic (n = 9) and autologous (n = 2) HCT. Most of them presented with fever and pancytopenia. Bone marrow examination was the main diagnostic technique; liposomal amphotericin B was the treatment of choice. Four out of eight patients (for whom data are available) experienced visceral leishmaniasis relapse. Visceral leishmaniasis in HCT recipients is a rare event that should be suspected in patients with persistent fever, pancytopenia and possible exposure to Leishmania spp., remembering that – as well as South-East Asia, East Africa and South America - it is endemic in several European regions.

Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Infection and Chemotherapy
Publication statusAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018


  • Bone marrow
  • Fever
  • Hematopoietic cell transplantation
  • Leishmania spp.
  • Pancytopenia
  • Visceral leishmaniasis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)
  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Infectious Diseases


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