Volume 94, Issue 5
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Leishmaniasis, a neglected vector-borne disease caused by the protozoan parasite , is encountered in 98 countries causing serious concerns to public health. The most alarming is the development of parasite drug resistance, a phenomenon increasingly encountered in the field rendering chemotherapy ineffective. Although resistance to drugs is a complex phenomenon, the rate of efflux of the fluorescent dye Rhodamine-123 from the parasite body, using flow cytometry, is an indication of the isolate's ability to efflux the drug, thus avoiding death. The rate of efflux measured 275 strains, isolated from patients and dogs from Greece and Cyprus, was measured and mapped to study the geographical distribution of the multidrug resistance (MDR) gene expression as an indication of the drug resistance of the parasite. The map showed that out of the seven prefectures, where dogs presented high efflux rates, five also had patients with high efflux rates. In one, out of the 59 prefectures studied, the highest number of isolates with efflux slope α > 1, in both human and dog isolates, was found; a fact which may suggest that spread of drug resistance is taking place. The virulence of the strains, assessed after infecting human macrophages of the THP-1 cell line, fluctuated from 1% to 59.3% with only 2.5% of the isolates showing infectivity > 50%. The most virulent strains were isolated from Attica and Crete.


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  • Received : 10 Sep 2015
  • Accepted : 05 Jan 2016

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