This study analyzed the spatial and temporal distribution of cases of visceral leishmaniasis in the State of Maranhão in the period from 2000 to 2009. Based on the number of reported cases, thematic maps were prepared to show the evolution of the geographical distribution of the disease in the state. The MCMC method was used for estimating the parameters of the Bayesian model for space-time identification of risk areas. From 2000 to 2009 there were 5389 reported cases of visceral leishmaniasis, distributed in all 18 Regional Health Units in the state, with the highest indices in the cities of Caxias, Imperatriz, Presidente Dutra and Chapadinha. The Regional Health Units with the highest relative risks per biennium were: Caxias and Barra do Corda (2000-2001), Imperatriz and President Dutra (2002-2003), Imperatriz and Caxias (2004-2005), Presidente Dutra and Codó (2006-2007) and Imperatriz and Caxias (2008-2009). There was considerable geographic expansion of visceral leishmaniasis in Maranhão, thus highlighting the need to adopt more effective measures for prevention and control of the disease in the state.
Visceral leishmaniasis; Space-time analysis; Bayesian model