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Hotspots of chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology (CKDu) have been identified throughout the globe, of which the Mesoamerican nephropathy in Central America is the most conspicuous example. It affects mainly agricultural workers, heat exposure during extenuating shifts leading to sudden dehydration and subsequent acute kidney injury (AKI) episodes is the main hypothesis, with other factors such as environmental and social determinants playing an underlying role. Recent reports have suggested that Mexico and the United States may have newly identified CKDu hotspots. Studies from Tierra Blanca, a rural region in Mexico, have shown that the prevalence of probable CKD is high (25%) among the population, of which almost half of the identified cases had no known risk factor (such as diabetes or hypertension). Studies in Hispanic agricultural workers from California and Florida have shown that heat stress and dehydration is frequent and is correlated with AKI episodes after a work shift (33% of workers in one shift). Because recurrent AKI is an established risk factor for CKD, these studies strengthen the evidence that suggests an association between this occupational exposure and CKD. Whether the etiology responsible for the entities described is the same as in other CKDu hotspots in the world remains unknown. The development of preventative and intervention strategies is the most urgent priority to address this issue.

Original publication




Journal article


Semin Nephrol

Publication Date





300 - 307


CKD hotspot, Chronic kidney disease (CKD), acute kidney injury, agricultural workers, chronic kidney disease of unknown etiology (CKDu), Acute Kidney Injury, Agriculture, California, Dehydration, Florida, Hispanic Americans, Hot Temperature, Humans, Kidney Failure, Chronic, Mexico, Occupational Exposure, Renal Insufficiency, Risk Factors