Changes in the epidemiology of visceral leishmaniasis in Brazil from 2001 to 2014

Abstract INTRODUCTION Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is a neglected disease, with territorial expansion and regional differences in Brazil that require explanation. This study aimed to describe changes in the epidemiology of VL in Brazil from 2001 to 2014. METHODS The incidence rates, sociodemographic and clinical data, and case evolution were subgrouped from 2001 to 2006 and from 2007 to 2014 and presented descriptively. Spatial distribution of disease incidence rates and changes in the spatial and temporal pattern were examined. RESULTS: In total, 47,859 VL cases were reported in Brazil between 2001 and 2014, with predominance in the Northeast macroregion (55%), though the incidence rate in this region declined between the two study periods. The State of Tocantins had the highest crude rate (26.2/100,000 inhabitants), which was responsible for VL increasing in the North macroregion. VL predominated in the urban zone (70%), in children under 4 years (34%); however, an increase in the incidence of VL in adults older than 40 years was identified, with 12.3% and 31% in the first and second period, respectively. The mapping of crude rates and autochthonous canine cases showed territorial expansion. The temporal distribution of VL was consistent in Brazil in general, with no pattern observed, but regional differences were found. CONCLUSIONS: The incidence of VL is increasing in Brazil. In addition to the State of Tocantins, which had the highest rate, new outbreaks of VL have occurred in the South macroregion of Brazil with small decreases identified in the incidence rate in the Northeast.