Canine Visceral Leishmaniasis in Wild Canines (Fox, Jackal, and Wolf) in Northeastern Iran Using Parasitological, Serological, and Molecular Methods
AbstractBackground: Although many studies had been conducted on various aspects of canine visceral leishmaniasis (CVL) in domestic dogs in the endemic areas of Iran, investigations on CVL in wild canines are rare.Methods: This is a cross-sectional study was conducted from December 2012 to 2013 in northeast of Iran where human VL is endemic. Wild canines were trapped around the areas where human VL cases had been previously identified. Wild canines were collected and examined both clinically and serologically using direct agglutination test (DAT). Microscopically examinations were performed in all the seropositive wild canines for the presence of the amastigote form of Leishmania spp. Some Leishmania sp. which had been isolated from the spleens of wild canines, were examined analyzed by conventional PCR and sequencing techniques using α-tubulin and GAPDH genes.Results: Altogether, 84 wild canines including foxes (Vulpes vulpes, n=21), Jackals (Canis aureus, n=60) and wolves (Canis lupus, n=3) were collected. Four foxes and seven jackals showed anti-Leishmania infantum antibodies with titers of 1:320–1:20480 in DAT. Furthermore, one fox and one jackal were parasitologically (microscopy and culture) positive and L. infantum was confirmed by sequence analysis.Conclusion: The present study showed that sylvatic cycle of L. infantum had been established in the studied endemic areas of VL in northeastern Iran.
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