To understand the geographic distribution of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) in the state of Mato Grosso do Sul (MS), Brazil, both the climatic niches of Lutzomyia longipalpis
and VL cases were analysed. Distributional data were obtained from 55 of the 79 counties of MS between 2003-2012. Ecological niche models (ENM) of Lu. longipalpis
and VL cases were produced using the maximum entropy algorithm based on eight climatic variables. Lu. longipalpis
showed a wide distribution in MS. The highest climatic suitability for Lu. longipalpis
was observed in southern MS. Temperature seasonality and annual mean precipitation were the variables that most influenced these models. Two areas of high climatic suitability for the occurrence of VL cases were predicted: one near Aquidauana and another encompassing several municipalities in the southeast region of MS. As expected, a large overlap between the models for Lu. longipalpis
and VL cases was detected. Northern and northwestern areas of MS were suitable for the occurrence of cases, but did not show high climatic suitability for Lu. longipalpis
. ENM of vectors and human cases provided a greater understanding of the geographic distribution of VL in MS, which can be applied to the development of future surveillance strategies.