Sydney: Scientists are close to developing a shot against black fever, a fatal parasitic infection transmitted by sandflies, known as visceral leishmaniasis, the world`s second biggest killer after malaria.The black fever parasite migrates to organs such as liver, spleen and bone marrow and if left untreated will almost always be fatal.Symptoms of the disease, known as kala azar in India, include fever, weight loss, mucosal ulcers, fatigue, anaemia and substantial swelling of the liver and spleen.Leishmaniasis affects 12 million people and there are an estimated 1.5 million new cases annually, mainly in India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sudan, South Sudan, Ethiopia and Brazil, the journal Nature Genetics reports.Jenefer Blackwell, professor and head of genetics at the Telethon Institute for Child Health Research, University of Western Australia co-authored the study which has uncovered a single major genetic risk factor for visceral leishmaniasis.
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