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Visceral Leishmaniasis in Uruguay

12 Dec 2018

According to media reports  (in Spanish) in early December 2018, Uruguay reported its first case of visceral leishmaniasis in humans. Leishmaniasis is caused by Leishmania parasites, transmitted by sandflies. The disease occurs widelty throughout the world and takes three different forms. The visceral form causes severe damage to the internal organs and is usually fatal unless treated early.

Advice for Travellers

There is no vaccine against human leishmaniasis.

Travellers to rural and/or forested/jungle areas of regions where the infection is present will be most at risk.

Travellers should be advised to avoid Sandfly bites by:

  • Avoiding outdoor activities after dusk where possible.
  • Covering skin with clothing where possible.
    • Consider permethrin impregnation of clothing when outdoor activity is unavoidable.
  • Using insect repellent e.g. DEET on exposed skin.
  • Sleeping under insecticide-impregnated bednets (fine mesh size is required) or in air-conditioned rooms.
  • Using fans/ventilators which disrupt the movement of sandflies and sleeping elevated from the floor; sandflies are weak fliers.

For more information see Leishmaniasis.