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Leishmaniasis in Mexico

04 Jul 2023

An unusual increase in leishmaniasis cases has been reported by Mexican authorities in 2023 in Mexico, particularly affecting the Yucatan peninsula in the southeast of the country.

Up to 17 June 2023, 841 cases of cutaneous leishmaniasis have been reported in Mexico with 91% (769 cases) being reported from the 3 states of the Yucatan peninsula.

Leishmaniasis is an infection transmitted to humans from the bites of sandflies. There are three main forms of infection. Cutaneous leishmaniasis causes sores on the skin which can change in size and appearance over time. The sores usually are painless but can be painful.

Advice for Travellers

All travellers to affected areas should be aware of the risk and be aware how to reduce your risk of being bitten.

You can reduce your risk of being bitten by sandflies by:

  • minimising time spent outdoors between dusk and dawn when sandflies are most active
  • covering skin with clothing where possible
  • wearing insecticide-treated clothing when outdoor activity is unavoidable
  • using insect repellent on exposed skin
  • spraying accommodation with an insecticide to kill insects
  • sleeping under insecticide treated bed nets (fine mesh size is required), or in air-conditioned rooms
  • using fans (which disrupt the movement of sandflies) and sleeping elevated from the floor - sandflies are weak fliers

For further information see the fitfortravel Leishmaniasis page and Insect Bite Avoidance page.