Canine visceral leishmaniasis caused by Leishmania infantum in Senegal: risk of emergence in humans?

Microbes Infect. 2010 Dec;12(14-15):1219-25. doi: 10.1016/j.micinf.2010.09.003. Epub 2010 Sep 22.


In the context of global warming and the risk of spreading arthropod-borne diseases, the emergence and reemergence of leishmaniasis should not be neglected. In Senegal, over the past few years, cases of canine leishmaniasis have been observed. We aim to improve the understanding of the transmission cycle of this zoonosis, to determine the responsible species and to evaluate the risk for human health. An epidemiological and serological study on canine and human populations in the community of Mont Rolland (Thiès area) was conducted. The data showed a high seroprevalence of canine leishmaniasis (>40%) and more than 30% seropositive people. The dogs' seroprevalence was confirmed by PCR data (concordance > 0.85, Kappa > 0.7). The statistical analysis showed strong statistical associations between the health status of dogs and seropositivity, the number of positive PCRs, clinical signs and the number of Leishmania isolates. For the first time, the discriminative PCRs performed on canine Leishmania strains clearly evidenced that the pathogenic agent is Leishmania infantum. The results obtained show that transmission of this species is well established in this area. That the high incidence of seropositivity in humans may be a consequence of infection with this species is discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Animals
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • DNA, Protozoan / genetics
  • Dog Diseases / epidemiology*
  • Dog Diseases / parasitology*
  • Dog Diseases / transmission
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Leishmania
  • Leishmania infantum / genetics
  • Leishmania infantum / isolation & purification*
  • Leishmaniasis, Visceral / epidemiology*
  • Leishmaniasis, Visceral / parasitology
  • Leishmaniasis, Visceral / transmission
  • Leishmaniasis, Visceral / veterinary*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Risk Assessment
  • Senegal / epidemiology
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Young Adult
  • Zoonoses / epidemiology*
  • Zoonoses / transmission*


  • DNA, Protozoan