Spatial and temporal variability of visceral leishmaniasis in Colombia, 2007 to 2018

Adriana Castillo-Castañeda, Giovanny Herrera, Martha S. Ayala, Patricia Fuya, Juan David Ramírez

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4 Scopus citations


Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is a neglected tropical disease associated with poverty and is endemic in 56 countries worldwide. Brazil, Venezuela, and Colombia are the most affected countries in South America. In Colombia, the National Public Health Surveillance System (SIVIGILA) consolidates epidemiological information and monitors all VL cases nationwide. However, to date, no studies have investigated the occurrence of VL in Colombia using metadata analysis. We studied the demographic data, the spatial and temporal distribution of VL cases, and the association with vector distribution of Leishmania species in Colombia from 2007 to 2018. We found 306 VL cases reported to SIVIGILA for this period, with a coverage of 25.5 cases/year, and a mortality of 2.28% (seven deaths). The highest number of confirmed cases (N = 52) occurred in 2007; the lowest (N = 9) occurred in 2012. The cases were reported mainly in children (< 7 years) affiliated with the subsidized health regimen. Regarding the geographic distribution, the cases were reported by 42 municipalities distributed in 10 departments. The occurrence of VL cases toward the northeast of Colombia, and the distribution of vectors, such as Lutzomyia longipalpis and Lu. evansi, may be changing the panorama of VL in the country. We conclude that VL, mainly in recent years, shows a temporal and spatial variability associated with the occurrence of cases in new settings. Our findings increase our understanding and knowledge of this disease, and suggest the need to monitor and prioritize areas with changes in geographic expansion to improve prevention and control actions in the country.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)144-155
Number of pages12
JournalAmerican Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Parasitology
  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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