Health Surveillance and Disease Management / Communicable Diseases / Leishmaniasis
Leishmaniasis: 2007 Update
Leishmaniasis is a group of parasitic diseases of global distribution transmitted to humans by the bite of approximately 30 species of sandflies infected by protozoans of the genus Leishmania. It is estimated that 2 million new cases occur every year throughout the world, of which 1.5 million cases are cutaneous leishmaniasis. It is estimated that the number of infected people exceeds 12 million. However, official data underestimate the reality of the human affliction by these protozoa due to the following:
In the Americas, cases from northern Argentina and as far as southern Texas have been reported, with the exception of Chile and Uruguay.
In accordance with data on cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) reported to the PAHO Regional Program on Leishmaniasis in 2006, 6 cases of CL were registered out of approximately 62,000 leishmaniasis cases. The most affected countries were Brazil, Colombia, Paraguay, Venezuela, Panama, Ecuador, and Peru. With regard to the more lethal visceral leishmaniasis (VL), the countries reported more than 5,000 cases, and the most affected country is Brazil.
The main problems that can be observed on the topic are as follows:
All these factors contribute to morbidity from Leishmaniasis as observed in the Americas.
The Regional Program, with support from the Global Program, prepared an action plan for 2007, which includes the following: