An acute presentation of haemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis due to visceral leishmaniasis in a British adult returning traveller

Theodosiou, A.A.; Hiew, H.J.; Petridou, C.

Acute Medicine 18(3): 184-188

2019


ISSN/ISBN: 1747-4884
PMID: 31536056
Document Number: 17954
A 62-year old British Caucasian woman normally resident in Spain presented with fever and pancytopaenia after returning to the UK. Her symptoms persisted despite broad-spectrum antibiotics, and she gradually became confused, hypotensive and progressively more pancytopaenic. Imaging demonstrated hepatosplenomegaly, and a bone marrow aspirate confirmed a diagnosis of haemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis (HLH). Bone marrow polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and blood serology were both positive for Leishmania donovani, consistent with visceral leishmaniasis (VL). Following treatment with dexamethasone and amphotericin, she improved clinically and biochemically, and was able to return to Spain. Fever in the returning traveller is a common acute medical presentation. Although HLH and VL are rare diagnoses, both carry a very high mortality rate if undiagnosed and untreated.

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An acute presentation of haemophagocytic lymphohistiocytosis due to visceral leishmaniasis in a British adult returning traveller