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Euro Surveill. 2013 Jul 25;18(30):20546.

Re-emergence of leishmaniasis in Spain: community outbreak in Madrid, Spain, 2009 to 2012.

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Division of Epidemiology, Health Promotion and Prevention Subdirectorate, Primary Care Directorate, Madrid, Spain.


Since July 2009, there has been a community outbreak of leishmaniasis in the south-west area of the Madrid autonomous community, Spain, affecting residents from four towns that are geographically close together and share extensive park areas. As of December 2012, 446 cases were reported (6 in 2009, 97 in 2010, 196 in 2011 and 147 in 2012), a mean incidence rate of 22.2 per 100,000 inhabitants during July 2009 and December 2012. The mean age was 44 years (range: 2 months to 95 years); 61.0% were male. A total of 68 (15.2%) had immunosuppressive conditions; 160 (35.9%) had visceral leishmaniasis and 286 (64.1%) cutaneous. A total of 421 (94.4%) cases were confirmed. Leishmania infantum was identified as the agent. Monitoring revealed high densities of the vector Phlebotomus perniciosus. The surveillance system for canine leishmaniasis did not detect any increase in prevalence during the period. Environmental control measures have been taken, such as improvements in sanitation and disinsection in the risk areas and control of the overpopulation of Leporidae, as xenodiagnosis studies have shown that hares play a role as active reservoirs. This is the largest reported community outbreak of leishmaniasis in Europe. The discovery of the new reservoir stands out in the multifactorial aetiology of the outbreak. Epidemiological research and environmental intervention measures are continuing.

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