Experimental Infections of the Multimammate Rat (Mastomys natalensis) with Leishmania donovani and Leishmania major

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  • Department of Pathobiology, University of Pennsylvania, 3800 Spruce Street, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 19104-6050

The susceptibility of the multimammate rat, Mastomys natalensis, to experimental infections with Leishmania donovani and L. major was examined. Inoculations of L. major promastigotes into the skin resulted in nonulcerating lesions in which parasites could be detected for more than 30 weeks later. Intravenous inoculations of L. donovani promastigotes produced visceral infections characterized by a continuing increase in splenic parasite burdens and liver parasite burdens which peaked during the first few weeks of infection and gradually decreased as the disease became chronic. L. donovani could be isolated from the blood throughout the infection, and promastigotes were cultured from the spleens of rats inoculated intradermally. Thus, the multimammate rat appears to be a good reservoir host for these parasites.