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Thread: Diagnosis, epidemiology and control of canine Leishmania infection

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    Default Diagnosis, epidemiology and control of canine Leishmania infection

    Diagnosis, epidemiology and control of canine Leishmania infection

    Leishmaniasis is a parasitic disease caused by Leishmania spp. Leishmaniasis can have different forms. The two most common forms involve the skin or the internal organs.

    People who get the skin form of leishmaniasis may have symptoms that start several weeks or months after the germ enters the body. One or more sores form on the skin and can change over time to look like volcanoes, with a raised edge and central crater. These sores may be painful or painless and may have scabs covering them. Sometimes, people have swollen glands near the sores. If this form of leishmaniasis is not treated, the sores can last for years and cause permanent scars.

    People who get the form that affects the internal organs have symptoms that start even later, usually several months after getting leishmaniasis. The spleen and liver, both organs in the stomach area, may become swollen. Swollen glands and changes to the blood are also symptoms of this form of leishmaniasis. This form can be very serious if not treated and may lead to death.

    Can animals transmit leishmaniasis to me?

    Yes, but not directly. Leishmaniasis is transmitted by infected sand flies in areas outside the United States. Sand flies become infected when they bite animals, such as dogs, that are sick with leishmaniasis. The infected flies then bite other animals (including people) and pass leishmaniasis to them. Because sand flies are smaller than other flies and do not make any noise when they are flying, people may not know sand flies are around them.

    Many organizations support the health benefits of pets. These groups provide information on how animals can help people be healthy.

    Visceral leishmaniosis caused by Leishmania infantum is an endemic zoonosis in southern European countries. Dogs are the main reservoirs of the parasite, which is transmitted by phlebotomine sand flies. Canine leishmaniosis represents an important veterinary medical and public health problem, i.e. information on the epidemiology of Leishmania infection in dogs is essential in order to define effective control measures for zoonotic leishmaniosis.

    Leishmaniasis caused by Leishmania infantum is a prevalent disease in dogs and humans. A serological survey of Leishmania infection in dogs was carried out in the endemic region of Alto Douro (north Portugal). Two hundred and ninety-four dogs from the municipality of Peso da Régua were examined for clinical signs of canine leishmaniasis (CanL), and sera samples were evaluated by the direct agglutination test (DAT) and the fast agglutination screening test (FAST). The sero-prevalence of infection was 20.4%, after screening the study population by FAST and subsequent confirmation by DAT. The overall prevalence of disease was 3.1%. Only 15.0% of the sero-positive dogs had clinical signs of CanL. A high degree of agreement (88.4%; kappa value = 0.71) was found between DAT and FAST. This study further demonstrates that FAST can be used as a simple, rapid and sensitive screening test for canine Leishmania infection in areas of high endemicity and, together with DAT, is a valuable tool in the assessment of CanL.



    • What is leishmaniasis?
    • What are the signs and symptoms of cutaneous leishmaniasis?
    • What are the signs and symptoms of visceral leishmaniasis?
    • How common is leishmaniasis in the world?
    • In what parts of the world is leishmaniasis found?
    • Is leishmaniasis found in the United States?
    • How do people get infected with Leishmania parasites?
    • Who is at risk for Leishmania infection?
    • If I were bitten by an infected sand fly, when would leishmaniasis develop?
    • What should I do if I think I might have leishmaniasis?
    • How is leishmaniasis diagnosed?
    • Does leishmaniasis have to be treated?
    • I plan to travel to an area of the world where leishmaniasis is found. What can I do to prevent infection?
    • If I have already had leishmaniasis, could I get it again?

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