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January 10, 1948

KALA-AZAR: Report of a Case Showing Unusual Leukocyte Response and Prolonged Incubation Period

Author Affiliations

Medical Corps, Army of the United States; Sanitary Corps, Army of the United States

From the Army Air Forces Regional Station Hospital, San Antonio, Texas.; Note: The Department of Pathology, Baylor University School of Medicine, assisted in obtaining the photomicrograph of the bone marrow specimen in this case.

JAMA. 1948;136(2):81-84. doi:10.1001/jama.1948.02890190009003

Prior to the onset of World War II, kala-azar (visceral leishmaniasis) was a disease discussed only by those few who specialized in tropical medicine and by members of teaching institutions when presenting cases of splenomegaly for differential diagnosis. In the latter instance, kala-azar was usually discarded as a possible diagnosis because the patient had never been out of the United States. Today this may not be true. During the recent war and continuing even to the present time several hundred thousand American troops were and are stationed in the several parts of the world where kala-azar is endemic, the most important of which are Eastern India, Burma, Northeastern China, Southern Italy and the Mediterranean coast of North Africa. Because of this and because the incubation period of the disease may be prolonged, the possibility of the occurrence of clinical kala-azar among former servicemen is more than theoretic.

Kala-azar is caused