Feline Leishmania infection in a canine leishmaniasis endemic region, Portugal.
ABSTRACT Canine leishmaniasis (CanL) caused by Leishmania infantum is a serious zoonotic public health and veterinary problem in the Mediterranean basin. Leishmania infection in domestic cats (Felis catus domesticus) has been reported in several countries where this zoonosis is endemic, such as Portugal, Spain, Italy, France, Greece, Israel, Palestine and Brazil. The aim of this study was to contribute to the knowledge of the role played by cats in Leishmania epidemiology, in an endemic focus of zoonotic leishmaniasis, the Lisbon metropolitan area, Portugal. L. infantum DNA was detected in peripheral blood of 28 out of 138 cats (20.3%). The result of PCR in blood of cats was not closely associated with the level of specific circulating antibodies in their sera. Positive serology was observed only in one cat out of 76. In the same geographic region and time period the indirect immunofluorescent test revealed 20.4% (31/152) of dogs with antibodies and PCR detected Leismania DNA on 34.9% (53/152) animals. Despite the fact that specific antibodies have been validated for diagnosis of CanL, their detection does not seem to be sensitive enough to predict Leishmania infection in cats. On the other hand, the presence of parasite DNA in cat's peripheral blood during the transmission season and out of the season suggests that these animals living in endemic areas are frequently exposed or infected with the parasite. Although dogs have been universally regarded as the major domestic/peridomestic reservoir hosts, the present data allow us to hypothesize that cats can act as an alternative reservoir host of L. infantum, rather than an accidental host. However, in order to evaluate the existence of a transmission cycle with cats sustaining and spreading zoonotic leishmaniasis is necessary to prove that these animals can transmit the parasite to the vector in nature.
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ABSTRACT: Feline vector-borne diseases (FVBD) have emerged in recent years, showing a wider geographic distribution and increased global prevalence. In addition to their veterinary importance, domestic cats play a central role in the transmission cycles of some FVBD agents by acting as reservoirs and sentinels, a circumstance that requires a One Health approach. The aim of the present work was to molecularly detect feline vector-borne bacteria and protozoa with veterinary and zoonotic importance, and to assess associated risk factors in cats from southern Portugal. Six hundred and forty-nine cats (320 domestic and 329 stray), from veterinary medical centres and animal shelters in southern Portugal, were studied. Anaplasma spp./Ehrlichia spp., Babesia spp., Bartonella spp., Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato, Hepatozoon spp. and Leishmania spp. infections were evaluated by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) in blood samples. One hundred and ninety-four (29.9%) cats were PCR-positive to at least one of the tested genera or complex of FVBD agents. Sixty-four (9.9%) cats were positive to Leishmania spp., 56 (8.6%) to Hepatozoon spp., 43 (6.6%) to Babesia spp., 35 (5.4%) to Anaplasma spp./Ehrlichia spp., 19 (2.9%) to Bartonella spp. and 14 (2.2%) to B. burgdorferi s.l. Thirty-three (5.1%) cats were positive to two (n = 29) or three (n = 4) genera/complex. Babesia vogeli, Bartonella clarridgeiae, Bartonella henselae, Ehrlichia canis, Hepatozoon felis and Leishmania infantum were identified by DNA sequencing. The occurrence of FVBD agents in southern Portugal, some of them with zoonotic character, emphasizes the need to alert the veterinary community, owners and public health authorities for the risk of infection. Control measures should be implemented to prevent the infection of cats, other vertebrate hosts and people.Parasites & Vectors 03/2014; 7(1):115. · 3.25 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Albania is a country on the western part of the Balkan Peninsula. The Mediterranean climate is favourable for the stable development of many arthropod species, which are incriminated as vectors for various agents. Recently, several papers have reported on epidemiological aspects of parasitic diseases including vector-borne disease agents of dogs with zoonotic characteristics in Albania. However, data on the epidemiology of feline parasitic and bacterial agents in Albania is scarce. Serum and EDTA-blood samples collected from 146 domestic cats from Tirana during 2008 through 2010 were examined for exposure to Toxoplasma gondii, Neospora caninum, Leishmania infantum, and Anaplasma spp. with IFAT, for infection with L. infantum, A. phagocytophilum, Bartonella spp. and haemotropic mycoplasmas with conventional PCR and real-time PCR and for Dirofilaria immitis with antigen ELISA. Additionally blood smear microscopy was carried out for detection of blood-borne pathogens. Antibodies to T. gondii (titre >=1:100) were demonstrated in 91 cats (62.3%). Antibodies to N. caninum (titre >=1:100), L. infantum (titre >=1:64) and Anaplasma spp. (titre >=1:100) were found in the serum of 15 (10.3%), 1 (0.7%) or 3 (2.1%) cats, respectively. DNA of haemotropic mycoplasmas was detected in the blood of 45 cats (30.8%), namely Candidatus Mycoplasma haemominutum (21.9%), Mycoplasma haemofelis (10.3%), and Candidatus Mycoplasma turicensis (5.5%), with ten cats harbouring co-infections of two mycoplasmas each; blood from one cat was PCR positive for Bartonella henselae. No DNA of Leishmania spp. and A. phagocytophilum or circulating D. immitis antigen was detected in any cat sample. The overall prevalence of haemotropic mycoplasmas was significantly higher in male compared to female cats (40.6% vs. 24.1%, p = 0.0444); and age was associated positively with the prevalence of antibodies to T. gondii (p = 0.0008) and the percentage of haemotropic mycoplasma infection (p = 0.0454). With the broad screening panel including direct and indirect methods applied in the present study, a wide spectrum of exposure to or infection with parasitic or bacterial agents was detected.Parasites & Vectors 02/2014; 7(1):62. · 3.25 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Since 2009, the incidence of human leishmaniosis in the SW of the Madrid region has been unusually high. Although dogs are the main reservoir for this disease, a role played by dogs in this outbreak has been ruled out and investigators are now considering other hosts (eg. cats, rabbits, hares) as possible alternative reservoirs.This study was designed to examine the Leishmania infantum status of stray cats in Madrid to assess its possible implications in the human leishmaniosis outbreak. 346 captured stray cats were tested for antibodies against L. infantum by the indirect fluorescent antibody technique (IFAT) and nested-PCR methods were used to detect Leishmania DNA in blood samples of cats testing seropositive for L. infantum and/or retroviruses infection. Cats were also tested for Toxoplasma gondii using the direct agglutination test (DAT) and feline leukemia virus (FeLV) antigen and feline immunodeficiency virus (FIV) antibodies (PetChek* FIV/FeLV). The presence of intestinal parasites was determined using a routine coprological method. The seroprevalence of L. infantum infection (cut off >= 1/100) was 3.2% (11/346). However, it was not possible to amplify Leishmania DNA in any of the blood samples. Seropositivity was not associated with sex, age, capture site, clinical status, retrovirus infection or T. gondii seropositivity. Of the 11 cats seropositive for L. infantum, 3 also tested positive for FIV, none for FeLV and 6 for T. gondii. It should be mentioned that the prevalence of FeLV p27 antigen was 4% and of FIV antibody was 9.2%. Although the seroprevalence of T. gondii was quite high at 53.5%, no T. gondii oocysts were found in any of the faeces samples analysed (n = 287). In contrast, intestinal parasites were detected in 76 (26.5%) samples, Toxocara cati being the most prevalent. Our results suggest a stable L. infantum infection situation among the stray cats of the Madrid area; the disease is uncommon and no clinical cases have been reported to date. The detection of other zoonotic parasites such as T. gondii and T. cati in stray cats indicates a need to adopt strict control measures in this population.Parasites & Vectors 03/2014; 7(1):112. · 3.25 Impact Factor