In the state of  in the Northern region of Brazil, officials are reporting an outbreak of visceral leishmaniasis, or kala-azar in the city of Tocantinópolis.

According to a G1 report (computer translated), the city is on alert after reporting more than 400 cases in dogs and nine in humans since the beginning of the year. This year, so far, there are 50 suspicious notifications. Five cases were confirmed in adults and four in children younger than ten years.

Sandfly/James Gathany
Sandfly/James Gathany

There were 12 human cases in all of last year.

But the biggest concern, according to the Epidemiological Surveillance Coordination is regarding the cases in animals, which are hosts of the disease. That’s because the villagers do not want to hand over the animals to be sacrificed. Of the 407 who had a positive diagnosis, only 277 were sacrificed.

“The veterinarians say it has a cure and treatment, but it is very expensive. So we have a very high dog positivity and the people do not want to give the dogs the treatment, “explained coordinator Maria Vandecy Soares Ribeiro.

According to the World Health Organization, over 90% of visceral leishmaniasis cases occur in six countries: Bangladesh, Brazil, Ethiopia, India, South Sudan and Sudan.

Leishmaniasis is a parasitic disease found in parts of the tropics, subtropics, and southern Europe. Leishmaniasis has several different forms.

Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is the most serious manifestation, which affects some of the internal organs of the body (such as the spleen, liver, and bone marrow).

VL is predominantly transmitted through the bite of an infected female phlebotomine sand fly, although congenital and parenteral transmission (through blood transfusions and needle sharing) have been reported.

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