ABSTRACT: The aim of the present study was to determine the coinfection of Leishmania sp. with Toxoplasma gondii, Feline Immunodeficiency Virus (FIV) and Feline Leukemia Virus (FeLV) in a population of cats from an endemic area for zoonotic visceral leishmaniasis. An overall 66/302 (21.85%) cats were found positive for Leishmania sp., with infection determined by direct parasitological examination in 30/302 (9.93%), by serology in 46/302 (15.23%) and by both in 10/302 (3.31%) cats. Real time PCR followed by amplicon sequencing successfully confirmed Leishmania infantum (syn Leishmania chagasi) infection. Out of the Leishmania infected cats, coinfection with FIV was observed in 12/66 (18.18%), with T. gondii in 17/66 (25.75%) and with both agents in 5/66 (7.58%) cats. FeLV was found only in a single adult cat with no Leishmania infection. A positive association was observed in coinfection of Leishmania and FIV (p<0.0001), but not with T. gondii (p>0.05). In conclusion, cats living in endemic areas of visceral leishmaniasis are significantly more likely to be coinfected with FIV, which may present confounding clinical signs and therefore cats in such areas should be always carefully screened for coinfections.
Veterinary Parasitology 01/2012; 187(1-2):302-6. · 2.58 Impact Factor