Although leishmaniasis is regarded as a significant health problem in Ecuador by the Ministry of Health, and the incidence has increased over the last years, an official map on the geographic distribution of disease and sand fly vectors or a control strategy do not exist yet. This article reviews the current situation based on published information to improve our knowledge and understand the epidemiological situation of leishmaniasis in Ecuador in order to help future research and to develop a national control strategy. The disease is endemic in most provinces throughout Pacific coastal region, Amazonian lowlands, and some inter-Andean valleys with a total 21,805 cases reported during 1990-2003. Whereas cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is found throughout Ecuador, mucocutaneous leishmaniasis (MCL) appears to be restricted to the Amazon region; one, parasitologically unconfirmed case of visceral form was reported in 1949. Most human infections are caused by Leishmania (Viannia) spp., which is distributed in the subtropical and tropical lowlands; infections due to L. (Leishmania) spp. are found in the Andean highlands and in the Pacific lowlands as well. The proven vectors are Lutzomyia trapidoi and Lu. ayacuchensis. Canis familiaris, Sciurus vulgaris, Potos flavus, and Tamandua tetradactyla have been found infected with Leishmania spp. It is estimated that around 3000-4500 people may be infected every year, and that 3.1 to 4.5 millions people are estimated to be at risk of contracting leishmaniasis.
leishmaniasis; Leishmania; epidemiology; Ecuador; review