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Epidemiology of Tropical Neglected Diseases in Ecuador in the Last 20 Years.

BACKGROUND: Tropical and zoonotic diseases are major problems in developing countries like Ecuador. Poorly designed houses, the high proportion of isolated indigenous population and under developed infrastructure represent a fertile environment for vectors to proliferate. Control campaigns in Ecuador over the years have had varying success, depending on the disease and vectors targeted.

AIMS: In our study we analyse the current situation of some neglected diseases in Ecuador and the efficiency of the control campaigns (by measuring changes in numbers of cases reported) that the Ecuadorian government has been running to limit the spread of these infectious and parasitic diseases.

RESULTS: Our study reveals that Brucellosis, Chagas Disease, Rabies and Onchocerciasis have been controlled, but small outbreaks are still detected in endemic areas. Leptospirosis and Echinococcosis have been increasing steadily in recent years in Ecuador since the first records. The same increase has been reported world-wide also. Better diagnosis has resulted in a higher number of cases being identified, particularly with regard to the linking of outdoor activities and contact with farm animals as contributing vectors. Improvements in diagnosis are due to regular professional training, implementation of automatized systems, establishing diagnosis protocols and the creation of an epidemiological vigilance network that acts as soon as a case is reported.

CONCLUSION: Control campaigns performed in Ecuador have been successful in recent years, although natural phenomena limit their efficiency. Leptospirosis and Echinococcosis infections remain a growing problem in Ecuador as it is worldwide.

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