Nicaragua 2013

USIG/International Project Summary


Location: Leon, Nicaragua
Duration of trip: 3 weeks


Please provide names and contact information for the following.

Student Travelers:
Sherry Firouzbahkt, Krystal Jimenez, Alejandra Morales, Cristina Vargas, Cynthia Gonzalez, Kyle Hersh

Faculty Advisor:
Dr. Hoda Anton-Culver

International Organization/University:

Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Nicaragua-Leon, Centro de Investigacion en Salud, Trabajo, y Ambiente (UNAN-CISTA)


Description of Project:

•CKDu is a rapidly growing epidemic in Central America, especially Northwestern Nicaragua.

• CKDu rates in residents from Northwestern Nicaragua—particularly the departments of Chinandega and Leon—are estimated to be more than 10 times that in the U.S.

• Deaths are more common among men than women, and the age of disease onset has been seen as early as age 20 approximately.

• Various theories have been proposed as to the cause of CKDu including exposures to  chronic dehydration, heat,  infectious diseases, and toxins and pesticides; all of which are most common in agricultural workers, in particular sugarcane employees.


To determine the association between sugarcane industry exposures and CKD using two approaches:

  1. Retrospective medical records data extraction: a case control study in which CKD cases will be compared to non-CKD patients.
  2. Health assessment questionnaire: interview and survey individuals in the community who may or may not have had exposure to CKD-related risk factors.

The purpose of this dual approach is to help elucidate the nature of this disease, its growing trends, and its incidence in relation to other major health issues that also affect this population.


Outlook for Summer 2014:

Continue the research, focus on preventative measures and potential intervention programs. Collaborete with on-going research at UNAN-CISTA.

Ultrasound machines/supplies:



Breakdown of budget/travel expenses:

Airplane Ticket- $750
Housing- $250
Living expenses- $ 50-75 per week



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