“An epidemic of chronic kidney disease of unknown origin has emerged in the last decade in Central America and has been named Mesoamerican nephropathy. This form of chronic kidney disease is present primarily in young male agricultural workers from communities along the Pacific coast, especially workers in the sugarcane fields. In general, these men have a history of manual labor under very hot conditions in agricultural fields.”
Source: National Kidney Foundation
It was first described in 2002, and is estimated to have caused the death of at least 20,000 people. It appears to be restricted to the Pacific Ocean coastal low lands of the Mesoamerican region, including southern Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras and Costa Rica.
The cause is currently unknown. Theories include influence of agricultural chemicals, self medication, alcoholism, heat-stress, and others.
More information American Journal of Public Health