Mortality from neglected tropical diseases in Brazil, 2000–2011

Francisco Rogerlândio Martins-Melo, Alberto Novaes Ramos Jr, Carlos Henrique Alencar & Jorg Heukelbach




To describe mortality from neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in Brazil, 2000–2011.


We extracted information on cause of death, age, sex, ethnicity and place of residence from the nationwide mortality information system at the Brazilian Ministry of Health. We selected deaths in which the underlying cause of death was a neglected tropical disease (NTD), as defined by the World Health Organization (WHO) and based on its International statistical classification of diseases and related health problems, 10th revision (ICD-10) codes. For specific NTDs, we estimated crude and age-adjusted mortality rates and 95% confidence intervals (CI). We calculated crude and age-adjusted mortality rates and mortality rate ratios by age, sex, ethnicity and geographic area.


Over the 12-year study period, 12 491 280 deaths were recorded; 76 847 deaths (0.62%) were caused by NTDs. Chagas disease was the most common cause of death (58 928 deaths; 76.7%), followed by schistosomiasis (6319 deaths; 8.2%) and leishmaniasis (3466 deaths; 4.5%). The average annual age-adjusted mortality from all NTDs combined was 4.30 deaths per 100 000 population (95% CI: 4.21–4.40). Rates were higher in males: 4.98 deaths per 100 000; people older than 69 years: 33.12 deaths per 100 000; Afro-Brazilians: 5.25 deaths per 100 000; and residents in the central-west region: 14.71 deaths per 100 000.


NTDs are important causes of death and are a significant public health problem in Brazil. There is a need for intensive integrated control measures in areas of high morbidity and mortality.


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