Consortium for the Epidemic of Nephropathy   in Central America and Mexico – (CENCAM)

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is an illness affecting the kidneys, that if not identified and treated in early stages, requires transplant or dialysis to save the lives of patients. During the last 20 years, in several regions of Central America, there has been an increase of a new type of CKD that is not linked with diabetes, obesity, hypertension, or age. This disease is referred to as “Chronic Kidney Disease of unknown origin” (CKDu), CKD of “non-traditional causes” (CKDnt) or the “Mesoamerican Nephropathy” (MeN) when it occurs in this part of the world.  Those most affected by Mesoamerican Nephropathy are young men that live near the Pacific coast, who do physically strenuous works in hot climates. CKDu has been responsible for over 20,000 deaths in Central America in recent years. Finding the causes and responding to the needs of patients affected by this disease has been declared a priority by COMISCA (The Health Ministers of Central America and the Dominican Republic and PAHO ( on an international level.


Due to the increase of the Chronic Kidney Disease of unknown causes (CKDu), and because of the continuing need to study the illness, its causes, consequences and ways to fight it, a scientific consortium, CENCAM (Consortium for the Epidemic of Nephropathy in Central America and Mexico), was initiated at the 2012 workshop, with the mission to contribute to knowledge generation, and to promote and facilitate activities to reduce the occurrence of CKD of unconventional origin in Central America and Mexico. It started with 53 scientists of 15 countries and now CENCAM has more than 100 members from 19 countries, who maintain a listserv in order to promote collaboration between countries and disciplines.

Primary Objectives:

  • To increase international collaboration for the exploration and research of CKDu
  • To contribute to a reduction in the overall prevalence and impact of CKDu
  • To raise awareness and action about CKDu in Central America and Mexico

Organizational Activities: 

  • Compile and disseminate research in bilingual formats
  • Facilitate a collaborative approach to research
  • Provide a forum for communicating results
  • Inform other initiatives
  • Promote global collaboration
  • Promote and host conferences, workshops and exchanges