During the first eight months of 2015, Colombian health officials have reported nearly 650 cases of Chagas disease, more than 330,000 chikungunya cases, more than 60,000 dengue fever cases and nearly 5,000 cases of leishmaniasis. Below is more details on each of these disease categories.

Chagas disease

Chagas disease
Kissing bugs are the vector of Chagas disease
Image/Rachel Curtis–Hamer Labs

The Instituto Nacional de Salud reports that through August 29, Colombia has seen 647 accumulated cases of Chagas disease. The vast majority of cases are considered chronic (91%), while the remainder are acute infections.

Boyacá state has reported the most chronic Chagas cases accounting for 18% of the total.


After reporting a little over 100,000 autochthonous, or indigenous chikungunya cases in 2014, Colombian health authorities have reported 331,366 in 2015 through August.

Virus circulation in Colombia has been demonstrated in 35 territorial entities. To date, 48 chikungunya-related deaths have been reported, with six reported as a co-infection with dengue fever.

Dengue fever

The number of dengue fever cases in Colombia during the first eight months of 2015 is down about 10% compared to the same period last year. To date, 61,451 dengue cases have been reported, including 788 cases of severe dengue. In 2014, 68,884 dengue cases were reported.

81% of dengue cases came from 11 states with Valle del Cauca accounting for a quarter of all cases.  There has been 225 probable deaths from dengue, of which 448 have been confirmed.


Phlebotomus papatasi sand fly–a vector of leishmaniasis Image/CDC
Phlebotomus papatasi sand fly–a vector of leishmaniasis

The vector borne parasitic disease has been confirmed in 4,919 individuals with the vast majority of cases being the cutaneous variety. The breakdown on types of leishmaniasis reported is as follows: 4849 cases (98.6%) of cutaneous leishmaniasis, 56 cases (1.1%) of mucosal leishmaniasis and 14 cases (0.3%) of visceral leishmaniasis.

Seven out of 10 leishmaniasis cases were reported from the following eight departments: Antioquia, Meta, Tolima, Santander, Nariño, Chocó, Santander and Guaviare Nte.

Yellow fever

Parts of Colombia are endemic for the mosquito borne viral disease, yellow fever. In 2015, 16 probable cases were reported to health officials with all being ruled out via laboratory testing.

Robert Herriman is a microbiologist and the Editor-in-Chief of Outbreak News Today and the Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch

Follow @bactiman63