The Epidemic of Chronic Kidney Disease of Unknown Etiology in Mesoamerica: A Call for Interdisciplinary Research and Action.
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During the last 20 years, several regions in Central America and Mexico have seen a dramatic increase of a rapidly progressive chronic kidney disease, unexplained by diabetes and hypertension.(1-3) This regional epidemic of chronic kidney disease of unknown origin (CKDu) is also being referred to as the Mesoamerican nephropathy or MeN.(4) It has been estimated that this largely unknown epidemic has caused the premature death of at least 20 000 men.(3) In MeN-affected areas in Nicaragua(3) and Costa Rica (C. W., unpublished data), chronic kidney disease mortality is up to five-fold the national rates. In El Salvador, kidney disease was the second most common cause of death among males in 2009.(5) MeN primarily, but not only, affects young and middle-aged male laborers in the agricultural sector, in particular sugarcane workers.(1-3) (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print September 12, 2013: e1-e4. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2013.301594).
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