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Epidemiological and clinical factors associated with lethality from Human Visceral Leishmaniasis in Northeastern Brazil, 2007 to 2018


Human Visceral Leishmaniasis (HVL) presents a subacute clinical evolution with systemic involvement, which can result in high case fatality, especially among untreated individuals or those with low socioeconomic status. This study aimed to identify epidemiological and clinical factors associated with HVL case fatality in the Ceara State, from 2007 to 2018. This is an analytical cross-sectional study. The bivariate analysis was performed by Stata 15.1 using Pearson’s Chi-square or Fisher’s exact test; and Poisson regression for age-controlled multivariate analysis. From 2007 to 2018, there were 4,863 new confirmed cases and 343 deaths from HVL (case fatality rate=7.05%). The risk factors associated with case fatalities were: age group (RR=8.69; 95%CI:3.56-21.20); black population (RR=2.21; 95%CI:1.45-3.35); jaundice symptoms (RR=1.72; 95%CI:1.38-2.14); edema (RR=2.62; 95%CI:2.10-3.26) and hemorrhagic phenomena (RR=1.63; 95%CI:1.26-2.10); and no prescription drug intake (RR=4.03; 95%CI:2.98-5.46). Treatment with pentavalent antimonial was a protective factor (RR=0.35; 95%CI:0.27-0.45). The number of deaths increased among the elderly, illiterate, urban residents, and black skin color individuals. The drugs pentavalent antimonial and amphotericin B showed an association with death, but were not considered causal factors. Treatment failure led to a high risk of death. In multivariate analysis, the risk factors for fatal cases were age group, black skin, symptoms of jaundice, edema and hemorrhagic phenomena; and failure to take the prescription drugs. Treatment with pentavalent antimonial was shown to be a protective factor. Knowing the factors associated with the fatality of VL-HIV cases may help to improve public policies, in order to refine the epidemiological surveillance program and, consequently, prevent deaths related to the disease in Ceara.

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Journal Article
Cavalcante KKDS
Almeida CP
Boigny RN
Cavalcante FRA
Correia FGS
Florêncio CMGD
Alencar CH