Distribution of paracoccidioidomycosis: determination of ecologic correlates through spatial analyses
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Paracoccidioidomycosis (PCM) is endemic in Latin America and in countries like Brazil it carries a high mortality rate. The fungus' habitat has not been precisely determined. The present study aims to identify ecologic correlates based on PCM distribution in a hyper-endemic area in southeastern Brazil. The Geographic Information System (GIS) and spatial statistics were used to associate environmental attributes, human population density and, PCM distribution. By means of the Pearson r correlation coefficient, the highest statistically significant associations with prevalence density were the percent area (by county) of: basaltic rocks (r = 0.63; P < 0.0001), Podzolic soils (r = - 0.48; P < 0.001), Latosol soils (r = 0.40; P < 0.01), mean annual precipitation between 1500 and 1600 mm (r = 0.46; P < 0.001) and, mean precipitation during the wet season between 940 and 1040 mm (r = - 0.44; P < 0.01). Soil texture and precipitation analyzed together reached r = 0.61 (P < 0.000002) for fine-textured soils with annual precipitation above 1400 mm. Environmental correlates indicate that moisture availability plays an important role in PCM distribution.