Visceral leishmaniasis (VL), a zoonotic disease caused by Leishmania infantum, is endemic in Algeria. This report describes a retrospective epidemiological study conducted on human VL to document the epidemiological profile at national level. All human VL cases notified by the National Institute of Public Health between 1998 and 2008 were investigated. In parallel all VL cases admitted to the university hospitals of Algiers were surveyed to estimate the underreporting ratio. Fifteen hundred and sixty-two human VL cases were reported in Algeria between 1998-2008 with an average annual reported incidence rate of 0.45 cases per 100,000 inhabitants, of which 81.42% were in the age range of 0-4 years. Cases were detected year-round, with a peak notification in May and June. One hundred and seventy patients were admitted to the university hospitals in Algiers in the same period, of which less than one in ten had been officially notified. Splenomegaly, fever, pallor and pancytopenia were the main clinical and laboratory features. Meglumine antimoniate was the first-line therapy for paediatric VL whereas the conventional amphotericin B was used for adult patients. Visceral leishmaniasis in Algeria shows the epidemiological profile of a paediatric disease with a decrease of the annual reported incidence rate. However, vigilance is required because of huge underreporting and an apparent propagation towards the south.