Tropical South America (Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela) covers the narrow coastal strip on the Pacific Ocean; the high Andean range with numerous peaks 5,000 to 7,000 meters (16,604 to 22,966 feet) high; and the tropical rain forests of the Amazon basin, bordered to the north and south by savannah zones and dry tropical forest or scrub.
Anthropod Borne Diseases
Arthropod-borne diseases are an important cause of ill health in rural areas. Malaria occurs in all 10 countries or areas, as do Chagas' disease (American trypanosomiasis), and cutaneous and mucocutaneous leishmaniasis. There has been an increase of the latter in Brazil and Paraguay. Visceral leishmaniasis is endemic in northeast Brazil, with foci in other parts of Brazil; less frequent in Colombia and Venezuela; rare in Bolivia and Paraguay; and unknown in Peru. Endemic onchocerciasis occurs in isolated foci in rural areas in Ecuador, Venezuela, and northern Brazil. Bancroftian filariasis is endemic in parts of Brazil, Guyana, and Suriname. Plague has been reported in natural foci in Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador, and Peru. Among the arthropod-borne viral diseases, jungle yellow fever can be found in forest areas in all countries except Paraguay and areas east of the Andes. Much of Brazil being forested area, lies with the yellow fever endemic zone; coastal areas do not. Epidemics of viral encephalitis and dengue fever occur in some countries in this area. Bartonellosis, or Oroya fever (a sand fly-borne disease), occurs in arid river valleys on the western slopes of the Andes up to 3,000 meters (9,842 feet). Louse-borne typhus is often found in mountain areas of Colombia and Peru.
Foodborne and Waterborne Diseases
Foodborne and waterborne diseases are common and include amebiasis, diarrheal diseases, helminthic infections, and hepatitis A. Schistosomiasis is found in Brazil, Suriname, and north-central Venezuela. Paragonimiasis (oriental lung fluke) has been reported from Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. Brucellosis is common and echinococcosis (hydatid disease) occurs, particularly in Peru. Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela all reported autochthonous cases of cholera in 1996.
Other diseases include rodent-borne Arenavirus hemorrhagic fever in Bolivia and Venezuela, and hepatitis B and D (delta hepatitis), which are highly endemic in the Amazon Basin. Rabies has been reported from many of the countries in this area. Outbreaks of meningococcal disease (serotype B and C) have been reported.
Other hazards: Snakes and leeches can be a hazard in some areas.