Kala-azar Imported to the Federal Republic of Germany 1943–1980
Kala-azar is the visceral form of leishmaniasis caused by the protozoon Leish-mania donovani, endemic in several parts of the tropics and subtropics. There are three main foci where tourists from central Europe may contract this disease, which is fatal for non-immunes: India and East Africa, but also the Mediterranean (Fig. 1), where kala-azar is a significant, but not predominant, disease with about 500 cases/year among the indigenous population (Stürchler 1981). The infection occurs there only in places suitable as biotopes for sandflies of the genus Phlebotomus, which transmit the infecting agent from its main reservoir - dogs and foxes - to man. The sandfly prefers dark and moist breeding habitats, such as old masonry and caves, and being unable to fly over longer distances it sticks to these places, flying only near the ground. Unfortunately many of our tourists prefer to spend their holidays in old farmhouses, bungalows, camping places and tents. It takes only a few hours by plane, or a day’s journey by car, to reach the beaches of the Mediterranean Sea in Italy or Yugoslavia. The automobile - favoured by families with children and/or dogs - also allows tourists to choose their own camping site.
KeywordsFederal Republic Visceral Leishmaniasis Indigenous Population Main Reservoir Periodic Fever
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