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Acta Médica Costarricense

On-line version ISSN 0001-6002Print version ISSN 0001-6012


JARAMILLO-ANTILLON, Orlando; ESPINOZA-AGUIRRE, Azálea  and  LOBO-PHILP, Raquel. Current status of Leishmaniosis in Costa Rica. Acta méd. costarric [online]. 2009, vol.51, n.3, pp.158-164. ISSN 0001-6002.

Justification and aim: We conducted an investigation to study the epidemiological behavior of the disease, its related vectors and the species that cause leishmania. Methods: As sources of information we used epidemiological bulletins from the Costa Rican Ministry of Health covering the years 2001 to 2007 and also those from the National Institute of Statistics and Census. The rates of incidence of the disease were calculated according to sex, age group, and distribution in different provinces and counties. These rates of incidence for the last 30 years were compared to an investigation that described the epidemiology of the disease from 1973 to 1975, in order to identify epidemiological changes of the disease. Having studied the bibliography of information compiled concerning this disease, we were able to describe the clinical forms and the geographic distribution of its vectors. Results: The incidence increased from 10,5 per 100.000 inhabitants found in 2001 to 40,7 per 100.000 inhabitants found in 2007. Young people of less than 19 years of age were found to be the most affected. The greatest rate of incidence for the country was found in Talamanca. The main etiological agent of cutaneous leishmaniasis is Leishmania (Viannia) panamensis, although L. (V.) braziliensis also exists. The vectors agents were Lutzomyia ylephiletor and L. trapidoi mosquitoes. The natural carriers of these parasites found in the wild are Bradypus griseus and Choloepus hoffmanni sloths and Heteromys desmarestianus rodents. There are also cases identified of atypical cutaneous leshmaniasis, produced by Leishmania infantum (= Leishmania chagasi), also responsible of a case of visceral leishmaniasis. L. longipalpis has been found to transmit these two forms of leishmaniasis. Conclusion: We found that it is important to train health workers on detecting leshmaniasis and educate the general population about this disease.

Keywords : leishmaniasis, rates; vectors; carriers; species causing leishmania.

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