LN – Endemic diseases. What are the other ills that concern the country

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Source: Archive

While our country spares no effort to slow the advance of the coronavirus pandemic,

there are other conditions that, more or less silently, earned a place in the Argentine epidemiological calendar

. They are considered

endemic diseases

, which means that they have a constant circulation over time and in a quite predictable way, in a certain area or region.

According to the head of the Infectology service of the Santojanni hospital, Pablo Scapellato, they are endemic

dengue, Chagas disease and also hantavirus

, even if it has outbreaks at certain times, since it maintains a more or less stable circulation. They are also endemic

tuberculosis, Argentine hemorrhagic fever and some forms of leishmaniasis and parasitosis


The more or less stable presence of all of them could make one think that they are neglected diseases. But for Scapellato, also a member of the Argentine Society of Infectious Diseases, this is not the case.

“Endemic is not synonymous with neglected although it is true that many of the endemic diseases are neglected diseases.

They are infections on which medical science or research does not put many of its resources. Similarly, political decisions also turn little resources towards some diseases

“explains the infectious medicine doctor.

Another disease that, these days, worries a lot about its progress is measles. However, if we stick to the definition of endemic disease, it would not fit as such. ”

In the case of measles we cannot speak of endemic

Because from the international health point of view, we are still considered free of measles in terms of its circulation, although it is possible that this will be modified. It is true that it is a disease that we are facing now, without that making it an endemic, “Scapellato clarifies.

Here is a brief review of the aforementioned diseases:

  • Dengue:

    It is a viral disease transmitted by the bite of the Aedes aegypti mosquito. When the mosquito feeds on the blood of a person with dengue and then bites others, it transmits this disease. It is spread through the mosquito, never from person to person or through objects. Although rare, pregnant women can infect their babies during pregnancy.

The symptoms are: fever accompanied by pain behind the eyes, head, muscle and joints, nausea and vomiting, severe tiredness, appearance of spots on the skin, itching and / or bleeding from the nose and gums.

“When contracting this virus, the picture is similar to the flu, but its main difference is the absence of respiratory compromise, something like a cold, pharyngitis or tracheobronchitis,” says Gerardo Laube, an infectologist and teacher at the Barceló Foundation.

There is no vaccine for dengue or medications to cure it. For this reason, the most important thing is prevention, eliminating mosquito breeding sites.

The latest official data shows 680 autochthonous cases, although it is highly probable that the number is higher, since many people who present with mild symptoms do not consult a doctor.

  • Chagas:

    It is a disease caused by a parasite called Trypanosoma cruzi. Although it is generally asymptomatic, it can present cardiac and digestive complications. The main route of transmission to humans is the vinchuca, which feeds on the blood of people or animals that have this parasite. There are also other ways of contracting it, either during pregnancy or by transfusion, by organ transplants from infected people, or orally.

“Mother-child transmission is a huge health problem in large cities, such as Buenos Aires. We must study the presence of Chagas in pregnant women, in order to then look for it and treat it in the child, since it is the best opportunity to cure it” Scapellato adds.

It is common for the disease to go unnoticed although in some cases it can present a prolonged feverish picture, an enlarged liver, spleen and diarrhea. The treatment is free and consists of taking a medicine for two months to eliminate parasites.

It can be prevented by maintaining order in the home and surroundings, ventilating daily, covering cracks in ceilings and walls, etc. According to PAHO data, it is estimated that there are 1,600,000 infected in the country.

  • Tuberculosis

    : It is a contagious infection that is transmitted through the air. It mainly affects the lungs and is spread by coughing, sneezing, or spitting. The symptoms of pulmonary tuberculosis are persistent cough, fever, night sweats, and weight loss. It is treated with medications. The treatment lasts at least six months.

“It is very important to comply with the medical indications and the time of treatment, since the incorrect taking of medication can produce the appearance of a major health problem, which is the development of drug-resistant tuberculosis,” warns the specialist consulted.

  • Hantavirus:

    It is a serious viral disease that is caused by the Hanta virus. Wild mice (long legged) are the reservoir of the virus and transmit it to people by inhalation, direct contact, and bites. It is also transmitted between people by direct contact.

Its symptoms resemble a flu-like state: fever, muscle aches, chills, headaches, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, and diarrhea. After a few days there may be respiratory distress, which can lead to death if the person is not treated in time. It does not have a specific treatment. It can be prevented by avoiding contact with rodents.

  • Argentine hemorrhagic fever:

    Known as “stubble disease”, it is a condition caused by the Junin virus, which is transmitted by rodents from the field. Its symptoms are fever, decay, and headache. Also muscle pain, joint pain, vomiting, nausea and dizziness. The main prevention measure is a vaccine, which must be applied in certain populations considered at risk: people living in an endemic area, workers, students and professionals in agriculture.
  • Leishmaniasis:

    It is transmitted by the bite of sandflies insects mainly present in jungle areas. It is an endemic disease that has long been directly linked to poverty, although in recent years, due to certain social and climatic changes, this is changing. In some cases it affects the skin of the infected person and, in others, it affects the organs.

Symptoms are prolonged fever, abdominal gain, loss of appetite, weight loss, dry cough, diarrhea, and vomiting. There is medication for its treatment, although in some cases it requires hospitalization.

Some institutions that work to contain, prevent and eradicate these ills are:

Mundo Sano Foundation:


Argentine Society of Infectology:


Argentine Red Cross:


The FIG tree:


Guest Foundation:


Barceló Foundation:




Publicado en el diario La Nación

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