introduction: visceral leishmaniasis is a serious public health problem that requires global control strategies, especially with respect to factors that may intervene in reducing the incidence of endemicity. in this work, rainfall density and temperature were correlated with the incidence of human cases in an area endemic for leishmaniasis in s？o luis do maranh？o, northeastern brazil. methods: notification of human cases by the national health foundation/regional coordination of maranh？o (funasa/corema) from 2002 to 2010 was used. ecological data (mean temperature and rainfall density) were provided by the meteorological office of state. results: a significant association was verified between the number of vl cases and rainfall rate but not in the analysis concerning mean temperatures. conclusions: these data suggest that the control actions in visceral leishmaniasis should be performed during rainy season in the state of maranh？o, which is in the first half of the year.