How visceral leishmaniasis spread through central-Southern Brazil

22 jul 2020

The protozoan disease visceral leishmaniasis (VL) has recently expanded to places where it had not previously been reported and has expanded its geographic distribution within countries where it was already endemic. Now, researchers describe three dispersion routes that have moved Leishmania infantum into and through central-Southern Brazil, helping shed light on the overall mechanisms of VL dispersal.

Currently, 1.69 billion people are estimated to be living in VL transmission areas worldwide and 90% of VL cases occurred in six countries, including Brazil. Between 1920 and 1980, VL was restricted to rural areas in Northeast Brazil, however the disease then spread to urban areas in other regions of the country. The dispersal of the protozoan is poorly understood, and in 2012, the parasite was reported in the western region (Foz do Iguaçu) of Paraná state, far from the epidemic regions. Foz do Iguaçu is one of the main touristic destinations in Brazil.

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