Nature Reviews Nephrology 9, 278-290 (May 2013) | doi:10.1038/nrneph.2013.36

Subject Categories: Tropical nephrology | Health economics | Acute renal failure | Risk factors and epidemiology

Community-acquired acute kidney injury in tropical countries

Vivekanand Jha & Sreejith Parameswaran  About the authors


Community-acquired acute kidney injury (AKI) in developing tropical countries is markedly different from AKI in developed countries with a temperate climate, which exemplifies the influence that environment can have on the epidemiology of human diseases. The aetiology and presentation of AKI reflect the ethnicity, socioeconomic factors, climatic and ecological characteristics in tropical countries. Tropical zones are characterized by high year-round temperatures and the absence of frost, which supports the propagation of infections that can cause AKI, including malaria, leptospirosis, HIV and diarrhoeal diseases. Other major causes of AKI in tropical countries are envenomation; ingestion of toxic herbs or chemicals; poisoning; and obstetric complications. These factors are associated with low levels of income, poor access to treatment, and social or cultural practices (such as the use of traditional herbal medicines and treatments) that contribute to poor outcomes of patients with AKI. Most causes of AKI in developing tropical countries are preventable, but strategies to improve the outcomes and reduce the burden of tropical AKI require both improvements in basic public health, achieved through effective interventions, and increased access to effective medical care (especially for patients with established AKI).

Author affiliations

V. Jha & S. Parameswaran
Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research, Sector-12, Chandigarh 160 012, India (V. Jha). Jawaharlal Institute of Postgraduate Medical Education and Research, Pondicherry 605 006, India (S. Parameswaran).

Correspondence to: V. Jha

Published online 5 March 2013