Leishmania in SLE mimicking an exacerbation
A. Ossandon, D. Bompane, C. Alessandri, E. Marocchi, F. Conti, G. Valesini
2006 Vol.24, N°2
PI 0186, PF 0190
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PMID: 16762157 [PubMed]
ABSTRACT: Systemic lupus erythematosus is a protean disease which may present manifestations that resemble other diseases posing serious problems of differential diagnosis. Visceral leishmaniasis is a parasitic infection, endemic in 88 countries, whose hallmarks may mimic a lupus flare. Fever, pancytopenia, splenomegaly, hypergammaglobulinemia, production of autoantibodies and complement consumption are some of the overlapping features between the two diseases. Thus, extra attention must be paid to patients with lupus who present with the mentioned symptoms. Diagnosis of visceral leishmaniasis relies on the detection of leishmania antibodies, on the presence of amastigotes in bone marrow aspirates, biopsies and cultures of the parasite. Treatment is based on the use of i.v. liposomal amphotericin B. The missed recognition of a leishmania infection in a lupus patient may lead to death, since both the omission of a specific anti-parasite treatment and the increase of the immunosuppressive therapy, in the conviction of a lupus flare, accelerate a fatal outcome. In this paper we present a case of visceral leishmaniasis occurring in a lupus patient. The clinical and laboratory features that overlap in the two diseases and the current literature on the topic were discussed.