Article

Feline Leishmania infection in a canine leishmaniasis endemic region, Portugal. Vet Parasitol

Unidade de Leishmanioses, Instituto de Higiene e Medicina Tropical (IHMT), Universidade Nova de Lisboa (UNL), Rua da Junqueira 100, 1349-008 Lisboa, Portugal.
Veterinary Parasitology (Impact Factor: 2.46). 12/2010; 174(3-4):336-40. DOI: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2010.08.030
Source: PubMed

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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    • "Other national data showed an apparent prevalence for L. infantum in dogs ranging from 0.9% to 16.2%, with the highest prevalence in the interior regions (Cortes et al., 2012). Canine L. infantum is endemic in Portugal and lately the scientific community has been studying the role of cats as an alternative reservoir rather than an accidental host (Maia et al., 2010). This lends credence to the view that an effective ectoparasite control approach is of utmost importance in dogs and cats. "
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    ABSTRACT: Drugs used in the control of internal and external parasites in companion animals play a crucial role in Animal and Public Health. To ensure continuing protection, these drugs should be administered regularly and in intervals, as suggested by the manufacturers. To assess parasite control practices and other related factors, including the degree of public awareness on the topic, 312 dog and cat owners were surveyed while attending the Small Animal Hospital, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Lisbon University.
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    • "In this context, some studies of feline leishmaniasis (FL) facilitate the hypothesis that cats are susceptible to infection by Leishmania spp., like most of the canine population residing in endemic areas. However, the true level of susceptibility/ resistance of felines to the infection and its role in the leishmaniasis cycle is still controversial (MAIA et al., 2010). Information regarding leishmaniasis involving felines has been increasing, but there are still many questions to be answered by new studies, especially regarding the pathogenesis and the true role of the cat as a reservoir host for Leishmania spp. "

    Full-text · Dataset · Jul 2015
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    • "In this context, some studies of feline leishmaniasis (FL) facilitate the hypothesis that cats are susceptible to infection by Leishmania spp., like most of the canine population residing in endemic areas. However, the true level of susceptibility/ resistance of felines to the infection and its role in the leishmaniasis cycle is still controversial (MAIA et al., 2010). Information regarding leishmaniasis involving felines has been increasing, but there are still many questions to be answered by new studies, especially regarding the pathogenesis and the true role of the cat as a reservoir host for Leishmania spp. "
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