Volume 64, Issue 3
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


We studied the reservoir competency of canines with distinct clinical presentations of Leishmania chagasi infection. The parasitologic status of asymptomatic and symptomatic dogs was determined by standard culture methods Infectivity was assessed by multiple xenodiagnoses with Lutzomyia longipalpis, over a period of 2-11 months. Asymptomatic dogs were non-infective (0 of 5) while 2 of 7 oligosymptomatic dogs infected L longipalpis, transmitting the parasites at low rates (range 0.9-5.2% of engorged flies). Polysymptomatic dogs transmitted L. chagasi more frequently (4 of 8 dogs) and reached higher infection rates (range 5.0-22.5% of engorged flies). The skin of the ear tended to be more infective to sand flies than that of the abdomen. Polymerase chain reaction hybridization (PCR-H) was a sensitive method for detection of L. chagasi, yielding the highest positive rate in serum (16 of 17 dogs) with no distinction between clinical groups. No association between skin positivity by PCR-H and infectivity to sand flies was found. The infectivity of dogs from clinically comparable groups from Colombian and Mediterranean foci differed. This may be a reflection of varied nutritional conditions or vector competency of distinct sand fly species.


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