Epidemiological aspects of human and canine visceral leishmaniasis in Venezuela
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OBJECTIVE: To report recent data on the distribution of human and canine visceral leishmaniasis (VL) in Venezuela, and to highlight problems associated with effective control measures. METHODS: We report the number of cases, incidence rate, age and sex distribution, and mortality rates for human VL (HVL) for the period of 1995 through 2000, based on National Registry of Leishmaniasis data. We carried out serological studies on a total of 3 025 domestic dogs from the 12 states in Venezuela reporting cases of human VL in this 1995-2000 period and also from the state of Yaracuy, where cases were reported earlier during the decade of the 1990s. RESULTS: From 1995 through 2000, 242 cases of HVL were reported from 12 states, in various sections of Venezuela. There was a relatively stable national incidence rate of 0.2 cases per 100 000 persons per year. Of the 242 cases, 26.0 percent were from Margarita Island, one of the three islands that make up the state of Nueva Esparta (Margarita Island was the only one of the Nueva Esparta islands that had HVL cases). Over the 1995-2000 period, the annual incidence rates for Nueva Esparta ranged from 1.7 to 3.8 cases per 100000 population. Males in Venezuela were more frequently affected (59.5 percent) than were females (40.5 percent). In terms of age, 67.7 percent of the VL patients were 4 years of age, and 80.6 percent were younger than 15 years. The mortality rate among the persons with VL was 7.85 percent during the 1995-2000 period. Serological screening with rK39 antigen of 1217 dogs from Margarita Island found a 28.5 percent positivity rate (testing of dogs was not done on the two other islands of Nueva Esparta). In contrast, the rate was 2.8 percent in the 1 808 samples from dogs from 12 states on the mainland. CONCLUSIONS: Human and canine VL are unevenly distributed in Venezuela. The distribution may reflect such factors as differences among the states in human population density, vector density, and the presence or absence of other trypanosomatidae. Particularly high infection rates in very young children as well as in domestic dogs occur in semiurban communities of Nueva Esparta, where other human-infecting trypanosomatidae have not been reported. Control measures related to limiting canine infection might contribute to disease control where VL infections are frequent. Reducing VL mortality requires increased awareness among medical professionals of the possibility of VL in the differential...(AU)
Zerpa, Olga,Ulrich, Marian,Borges, Rafael,Rodríguez, Vestalia,Centeno, Marta,Negrón, Emilia,Belizario, Doris,Convit, Jacinto (2003) Epidemiological aspects of human and canine visceral leishmaniasis in Venezuela. Rev Panam Salud Publica;13(4) 239-245,apr. 2003. Retrieved from http://www.scielosp.org/pdf/rpsp/v13n4/a06v13n4.pdf
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