IMPACT OF CLIMATE VARIABILITY IN THE OCCURRENCE OF LEISHMANIASIS IN NORTHEASTERN COLOMBIA

ROCIO CARDENAS Instituto Departamental de Salud de Norte de Santander, Cucuta, Colombia; Instituto Experimental Jose Witremundo Torrealba (formerly Centro Trujillano de Investigaciones Parasitológicas JWT), Universidad de Los Andes, Trujillo, Venezuela; Grupo de Investigación en Enfermedades Parasitarias, Tropicales e Infecciosas, Instituto de Investigación en Ciencias Biomédicas, Universidad de Pamplona, Pamplona, Norte de Santander, Colombia; Division of Infectious Diseases, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia; Hospital Infantil de México, Federico Gómez, Mexico City, Mexico

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CLAUDIA M. SANDOVAL Instituto Departamental de Salud de Norte de Santander, Cucuta, Colombia; Instituto Experimental Jose Witremundo Torrealba (formerly Centro Trujillano de Investigaciones Parasitológicas JWT), Universidad de Los Andes, Trujillo, Venezuela; Grupo de Investigación en Enfermedades Parasitarias, Tropicales e Infecciosas, Instituto de Investigación en Ciencias Biomédicas, Universidad de Pamplona, Pamplona, Norte de Santander, Colombia; Division of Infectious Diseases, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia; Hospital Infantil de México, Federico Gómez, Mexico City, Mexico

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ALFONSO J. RODRÍGUEZ-MORALES Instituto Departamental de Salud de Norte de Santander, Cucuta, Colombia; Instituto Experimental Jose Witremundo Torrealba (formerly Centro Trujillano de Investigaciones Parasitológicas JWT), Universidad de Los Andes, Trujillo, Venezuela; Grupo de Investigación en Enfermedades Parasitarias, Tropicales e Infecciosas, Instituto de Investigación en Ciencias Biomédicas, Universidad de Pamplona, Pamplona, Norte de Santander, Colombia; Division of Infectious Diseases, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia; Hospital Infantil de México, Federico Gómez, Mexico City, Mexico

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CARLOS FRANCO-PAREDES Instituto Departamental de Salud de Norte de Santander, Cucuta, Colombia; Instituto Experimental Jose Witremundo Torrealba (formerly Centro Trujillano de Investigaciones Parasitológicas JWT), Universidad de Los Andes, Trujillo, Venezuela; Grupo de Investigación en Enfermedades Parasitarias, Tropicales e Infecciosas, Instituto de Investigación en Ciencias Biomédicas, Universidad de Pamplona, Pamplona, Norte de Santander, Colombia; Division of Infectious Diseases, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia; Hospital Infantil de México, Federico Gómez, Mexico City, Mexico

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Previous studies have shown that variation in the distribution of vectors associated to the transmission of Leishmania species may be related to climatic changes. However, the potential implications of these ecological changes in human health need to be further defined in various endemic populations where leishmaniasis carries a substantial burden of disease such as in Northeastern Colombia. Herein, we report the impact of El Niño Southern Oscillation climatic fluctuations during 1985–2002 in the occurrence of cases of leishmaniasis in two northeastern provinces of Colombia. During this period, we identified that during El Niño, cases of leishmaniasis increased, whereas during La Niña phases, leishmaniasis cases decreased. This preliminary data show how climatic changes influence the occurrence of leishmaniasis in northeastern Colombia and contributes to the growing body of evidence that shows that the incidence of vector-borne diseases is associated with annual changes in weather conditions.

Author Notes

Reprint requests: Carlos Franco-Paredes MD, Division of Infectious Diseases, 69 Jesse Hill Jr. Drive, Atlanta, GA 30303, Telephone: 404-686-5885, Fax: 404-686-4508, E-mail; cfranco@sph.emory.edu.
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