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Alcover M.M.,University of Barcelona | Ballart C.,University of Barcelona | Serra T.,Institute Universitari Dinvestigacio En Ciencies Of La Salut Iunics | Castells X.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | And 7 more authors.
Acta Tropica | Year: 2013

Leishmaniosis is present in the Mediterranean region of Europe, where Leishmania infantum is responsible for the disease, dogs are the main reservoir, and sand flies of the Phlebotomus genus, subgenus Larroussius, are proven vectors. Some areas, including Minorca in the Balearic Islands, are considered free of the disease, despite the presence of vectors. However, in the context of the current expansion of canine leishmaniosis in parts of Europe, an epidemiological study using a veterinary questionnaire was carried out to establish the current situation of the disease in the Balearic Islands. While 50% of veterinarians thought that the incidence of canine leishmaniosis had not changed over time, 26.2% perceived an increasing trend, mainly those from Minorca, where most of the veterinarians polled (88.1%) considered the new diagnosed cases as autochthonous. A cross-sectional serological study performed in this island gave a seroprevalence rate of 24%. Seroprevalence among animals of local origin and with no history of movements to endemic areas was 31%. The presence of autochthonous canine leishmaniosis in Minorca was not correlated with an increase in vector density. The environmental and climatic factors that influenced the distribution and density of Phlebotomus perniciosus on the island and the possible causes of the apparent emergence of canine leishmaniosis in Minorca are discussed. © 2013 Elsevier B.V. Source


Farkas R.,Szent Istvan University | Tanczos B.,Szent Istvan University | Bongiorno G.,Section of Vector Borne Diseases and International Health | Maroli M.,Section of Vector Borne Diseases and International Health | And 2 more authors.
Vector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases | Year: 2011

Hungary is regarded as free of leishmaniasis because only a few imported cases have been reported. However, southern Hungary has a sub-Mediterranean climate, and so it was included in the EU FP6 EDEN project, which aimed to map the northern limits of canine leishmaniasis (CanL) in Europe. The numbers of traveling and imported dogs have increased in the last decade, raising concerns about the introduction of CanL caused by Leishmania infantum. Serum samples were collected from 725 dogs (22 localities, 6 counties) that had never traveled to endemic countries, as well as from other potential reservoir hosts (185 red foxes and 13 golden jackals). All sera were tested by the indirect fluorescent antibody test, but they were sero-negative using the OIE cut-off of 1:80 serum dilution except for those of two dogs resident since birth in southern Hungary. These had not received a blood transfusion, but the mode of transmission is unclear because no sandfly vectors were caught locally. From 2006 to 2009, phlebotomine sandflies were sampled in the summer months at 47 localities of 8 counties. They were trapped with castor-oil-impregnated sticky-paper, light, and CO2-baited traps. Small numbers of two vectors of Leishmania infantum were found. Phlebotomus neglectus occurred in three villages near to Croatia and one in north Hungary at latitude 47N, and Phlebotomus perfiliewi perfiliewi was trapped at two sites in a southeastern county close to the sites where it was first found in 1931-1932. Our report provides baseline data for future investigations into the northward spread of CanL into Hungary, which we conclude has yet to occur. © 2011, Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Source


Alcover M.M.,University of Barcelona | Gramiccia M.,Section of Vector Borne Diseases and International Health | Di Muccio T.,Section of Vector Borne Diseases and International Health | Ballart C.,University of Barcelona | And 4 more authors.
Parasitology Research | Year: 2012

Epidemiological studies on the distribution of leishmaniasis caused by Leishmania infantum Nicolle, 1908 (Kinetoplastida: Trypanosomatidae) have been based principally on serological surveys of the canine reservoir. This methodology is useful due to the facility of sampling, the rapidity in obtaining results, its consistency and because it allows the detection of heterogeneous foci of canine leishmaniasis (CanL) even in small areas. Other investigations have analysed Leishmania parasitism in sandflies (Diptera: Psychodidae: Phlebotominae) by using classical dissection techniques. These techniques allow the vector species to be incriminated in different foci, although they suffer from being very time consuming. Lately, studies in this field are increasingly using molecular techniques, which are faster and easier to perform. In the present work, we applied a nested-PCR in a study of natural infection of sandflies by Leishmania in three isolated farms where serological data on canine leishmaniasis of local dogs were also obtained. The analysis allowed the detection of 38.7% of females with positive nested-PCR (78%, 18% and 0%, respectively, in the different isolated farms). The positive Leishmania DNA samples were genotyped and identified as L. infantum. The results of this work provide new data for the vectorial capacity of Phlebotomus ariasi in a Pyrenean area, which can be considered at risk of becoming a new focus of CanL. The females with positive nested-PCR displayed blood in the midgut at different degrees of digestion, and/or were gravid. According to the multivariate logistic regression analysis, the risk of nested-PCR-positivity increased significantly with the degree of blood digestion (OR=1.3; P value=0.025). The Phlebotomus species and the presence of eggs were not statistically associated with nested-PCR positivity (P value of >0.05). The correlation of positive nested- PCR results with the presence of seropositive dogs in the farm confirms the utility of this technique in the study of the distribution and intensity of leishmaniasis foci. Also, the importance of sandfly blood-meal digestion for epidemiological surveys of leishmaniasis foci has been demonstrated. © Springer-Verlag 2012. Source


Khoury C.,Section of Vector Borne Diseases and International Health | Bianchi R.,Section of Vector Borne Diseases and International Health | Massa A.A.,Section of Vector Borne Diseases and International Health | Severini F.,Section of Vector Borne Diseases and International Health | And 2 more authors.
Experimental and Applied Acarology | Year: 2011

The first record of Ornithodoros (Alectorobius) coniceps (Canestrini) was reported for Italy in 1877, inside the interstices of the ancient mosaics at S. Marco Basilica in Venice. Afterwards only few discoveries of the species are reported for Italy; the last record is dated back to 1984, in L'Aquila town (Abruzzo Region). The present study shows the data of a survey carried out as a result of a massive infestation by O. coniceps in an ancient villa in Anzio town (Latium region) recently restored. In the past decades the villa has been fallen into disrepair, becoming an occasional shelter for wild animals mainly pigeons, that colonized the whole building for generations. This case appears worthy of note because it is the first record of this species after more than 25 years in Italy. A total of 136 specimens were collected by three methods: manual, mechanical aspirators and Wilson traps. Wilson trapping indicates positive O. coniceps tropism for CO2. © 2011 Springer Science+Business Media B.V. Source

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