Leishmaniases and the Cyprus Paradox

Apostolos Mazeris Veterinary Services of Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus; Laboratory of Molecular Parasitology, Hellenic Pasteur Institute, Athens, Greece; Université Montpellier 1 and Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Montpellier, Laboratoire de Parasitologie and Centre National de Reference des Leishmania, Montpellier, France; Laboratory of GeoInformatics, Technological Educational Institute of Athens, Athens, Greece; Biostatistics Lab, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete, Crete, Greece; Laboratory of Clinical Bacteriology, Parasitology, Zoonoses, and Geographical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete, Crete, Greece; Department of Parasitology, Serbian Centre for Parasitic Zoonoses, Institute for Medical Research, Belgrade, Serbia

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Ketty Soteriadou Veterinary Services of Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus; Laboratory of Molecular Parasitology, Hellenic Pasteur Institute, Athens, Greece; Université Montpellier 1 and Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Montpellier, Laboratoire de Parasitologie and Centre National de Reference des Leishmania, Montpellier, France; Laboratory of GeoInformatics, Technological Educational Institute of Athens, Athens, Greece; Biostatistics Lab, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete, Crete, Greece; Laboratory of Clinical Bacteriology, Parasitology, Zoonoses, and Geographical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete, Crete, Greece; Department of Parasitology, Serbian Centre for Parasitic Zoonoses, Institute for Medical Research, Belgrade, Serbia

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Jean Pierre Dedet Veterinary Services of Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus; Laboratory of Molecular Parasitology, Hellenic Pasteur Institute, Athens, Greece; Université Montpellier 1 and Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Montpellier, Laboratoire de Parasitologie and Centre National de Reference des Leishmania, Montpellier, France; Laboratory of GeoInformatics, Technological Educational Institute of Athens, Athens, Greece; Biostatistics Lab, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete, Crete, Greece; Laboratory of Clinical Bacteriology, Parasitology, Zoonoses, and Geographical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete, Crete, Greece; Department of Parasitology, Serbian Centre for Parasitic Zoonoses, Institute for Medical Research, Belgrade, Serbia

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Christos Haralambous Veterinary Services of Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus; Laboratory of Molecular Parasitology, Hellenic Pasteur Institute, Athens, Greece; Université Montpellier 1 and Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Montpellier, Laboratoire de Parasitologie and Centre National de Reference des Leishmania, Montpellier, France; Laboratory of GeoInformatics, Technological Educational Institute of Athens, Athens, Greece; Biostatistics Lab, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete, Crete, Greece; Laboratory of Clinical Bacteriology, Parasitology, Zoonoses, and Geographical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete, Crete, Greece; Department of Parasitology, Serbian Centre for Parasitic Zoonoses, Institute for Medical Research, Belgrade, Serbia

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Andreas Tsatsaris Veterinary Services of Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus; Laboratory of Molecular Parasitology, Hellenic Pasteur Institute, Athens, Greece; Université Montpellier 1 and Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Montpellier, Laboratoire de Parasitologie and Centre National de Reference des Leishmania, Montpellier, France; Laboratory of GeoInformatics, Technological Educational Institute of Athens, Athens, Greece; Biostatistics Lab, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete, Crete, Greece; Laboratory of Clinical Bacteriology, Parasitology, Zoonoses, and Geographical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete, Crete, Greece; Department of Parasitology, Serbian Centre for Parasitic Zoonoses, Institute for Medical Research, Belgrade, Serbia

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Joanna Moschandreas Veterinary Services of Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus; Laboratory of Molecular Parasitology, Hellenic Pasteur Institute, Athens, Greece; Université Montpellier 1 and Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Montpellier, Laboratoire de Parasitologie and Centre National de Reference des Leishmania, Montpellier, France; Laboratory of GeoInformatics, Technological Educational Institute of Athens, Athens, Greece; Biostatistics Lab, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete, Crete, Greece; Laboratory of Clinical Bacteriology, Parasitology, Zoonoses, and Geographical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete, Crete, Greece; Department of Parasitology, Serbian Centre for Parasitic Zoonoses, Institute for Medical Research, Belgrade, Serbia

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Ippokratis Messaritakis Veterinary Services of Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus; Laboratory of Molecular Parasitology, Hellenic Pasteur Institute, Athens, Greece; Université Montpellier 1 and Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Montpellier, Laboratoire de Parasitologie and Centre National de Reference des Leishmania, Montpellier, France; Laboratory of GeoInformatics, Technological Educational Institute of Athens, Athens, Greece; Biostatistics Lab, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete, Crete, Greece; Laboratory of Clinical Bacteriology, Parasitology, Zoonoses, and Geographical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete, Crete, Greece; Department of Parasitology, Serbian Centre for Parasitic Zoonoses, Institute for Medical Research, Belgrade, Serbia

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Vasiliki Christodoulou Veterinary Services of Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus; Laboratory of Molecular Parasitology, Hellenic Pasteur Institute, Athens, Greece; Université Montpellier 1 and Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Montpellier, Laboratoire de Parasitologie and Centre National de Reference des Leishmania, Montpellier, France; Laboratory of GeoInformatics, Technological Educational Institute of Athens, Athens, Greece; Biostatistics Lab, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete, Crete, Greece; Laboratory of Clinical Bacteriology, Parasitology, Zoonoses, and Geographical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete, Crete, Greece; Department of Parasitology, Serbian Centre for Parasitic Zoonoses, Institute for Medical Research, Belgrade, Serbia

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Byron Papadopoulos Veterinary Services of Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus; Laboratory of Molecular Parasitology, Hellenic Pasteur Institute, Athens, Greece; Université Montpellier 1 and Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Montpellier, Laboratoire de Parasitologie and Centre National de Reference des Leishmania, Montpellier, France; Laboratory of GeoInformatics, Technological Educational Institute of Athens, Athens, Greece; Biostatistics Lab, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete, Crete, Greece; Laboratory of Clinical Bacteriology, Parasitology, Zoonoses, and Geographical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete, Crete, Greece; Department of Parasitology, Serbian Centre for Parasitic Zoonoses, Institute for Medical Research, Belgrade, Serbia

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Vladimir Ivović Veterinary Services of Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus; Laboratory of Molecular Parasitology, Hellenic Pasteur Institute, Athens, Greece; Université Montpellier 1 and Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Montpellier, Laboratoire de Parasitologie and Centre National de Reference des Leishmania, Montpellier, France; Laboratory of GeoInformatics, Technological Educational Institute of Athens, Athens, Greece; Biostatistics Lab, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete, Crete, Greece; Laboratory of Clinical Bacteriology, Parasitology, Zoonoses, and Geographical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete, Crete, Greece; Department of Parasitology, Serbian Centre for Parasitic Zoonoses, Institute for Medical Research, Belgrade, Serbia

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Francine Pratlong Veterinary Services of Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus; Laboratory of Molecular Parasitology, Hellenic Pasteur Institute, Athens, Greece; Université Montpellier 1 and Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Montpellier, Laboratoire de Parasitologie and Centre National de Reference des Leishmania, Montpellier, France; Laboratory of GeoInformatics, Technological Educational Institute of Athens, Athens, Greece; Biostatistics Lab, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete, Crete, Greece; Laboratory of Clinical Bacteriology, Parasitology, Zoonoses, and Geographical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete, Crete, Greece; Department of Parasitology, Serbian Centre for Parasitic Zoonoses, Institute for Medical Research, Belgrade, Serbia

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Fedias Loucaides Veterinary Services of Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus; Laboratory of Molecular Parasitology, Hellenic Pasteur Institute, Athens, Greece; Université Montpellier 1 and Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Montpellier, Laboratoire de Parasitologie and Centre National de Reference des Leishmania, Montpellier, France; Laboratory of GeoInformatics, Technological Educational Institute of Athens, Athens, Greece; Biostatistics Lab, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete, Crete, Greece; Laboratory of Clinical Bacteriology, Parasitology, Zoonoses, and Geographical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete, Crete, Greece; Department of Parasitology, Serbian Centre for Parasitic Zoonoses, Institute for Medical Research, Belgrade, Serbia

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Maria Antoniou Veterinary Services of Cyprus, Nicosia, Cyprus; Laboratory of Molecular Parasitology, Hellenic Pasteur Institute, Athens, Greece; Université Montpellier 1 and Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Montpellier, Laboratoire de Parasitologie and Centre National de Reference des Leishmania, Montpellier, France; Laboratory of GeoInformatics, Technological Educational Institute of Athens, Athens, Greece; Biostatistics Lab, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete, Crete, Greece; Laboratory of Clinical Bacteriology, Parasitology, Zoonoses, and Geographical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete, Crete, Greece; Department of Parasitology, Serbian Centre for Parasitic Zoonoses, Institute for Medical Research, Belgrade, Serbia

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In Cyprus, leishmaniasis has been considered exclusively a veterinary problem. It was prevalent before 1945, and until its recent reemergence, it was nearly eradicated by 1996 as a consequence of the destruction of reservoir hosts and vectors. A survey carried out to provide an unbiased estimate of current transmission rates in dogs and humans showed a 9-fold increase in dog seroprevalence (reaching 14.9%) compared with 10 years ago. However, no human cases caused by Leishmania infantum were detected, although L. donovani cases were reported recently. The 62 strains isolated from dogs were typed as L. infantum MON-1 (98.4%), which is the predominating zymodeme in the Mediterranean region, and MON-98 (1.6%). The Phlebotomus species P. tobbi (vector of L. infantum in Cyprus), P. galilaeus, and P. papatasi were the predominant species captured. Two transmission cycles seem to run in parallel in Cyprus: in dogs with L. infantum and in humans with L. donovani.

Author Notes

*Address correspondence to Maria Antoniou, Laboratory of Clinical Bacteriology, Parasitology, Zoonoses, and Geographical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete, Voutes, Heraklion, 71003, Crete, Greece. E-mail: antoniou@med.uoc.gr

Financial support: This project was funded by The Cyprus Research Promotion Foundation to which we are grateful. Part of the work was also supported by the Hellenic Ministry of Health and Social Solidarity, Central Health Council (KESY 2009). The analysis for this research was assisted by Clive Davies and Paul Ready and funded by European Union Grant GOCE-2003-010284 EDEN catalogue number EDEN0182.

Authors' addresses: Apostolos Mazeris and Fedias Loucaides, Laboratory for Animal Health, Veterinary Services of Cyprus, Athalassa, Nicosia, Cyprus, E-mails: amazeris@vs.moa.gov.cy and phedias.loucaides@cytanet.com.cy. Ketty Soteriadou and Christos Haralambous, Laboratory of Molecular Parasitology, Hellenic Pasteur Institute, Athens, Greece, E-mails: ksoteriadou@pasteur.gr and christos@pasteur.gr. Jean Pierre Dedet and Francine Pratlong, Université Montpellier 1 and Centre Hospitalier Universitaire de Montpellier, Laboratoire de Parasitologie and Centre National de Reference des Leishmania, Montpellier, France, E-mails: parasito@univ-montp1.fr and f-pratlong@chu-montpellier.fr. Andreas Tsatsaris, Laboratory of GeoInformatics, Technological Educational Institute (T.E.I.) of Athens, Athens, Greece, E-mail: atsats@teiath.gr. Joanna Moschandreas, Biostatistics Lab, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete, Crete, Greece, E-mail: joanna@med.uoc.gr. Ippokratis Messaritakis, Vasiliki Christodoulou, Byron Papadopoulos, and Maria Antoniou, Laboratory of Clinical Bacteriology, Parasitology, Zoonoses, and Geographical Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, University of Crete, Crete, Greece, E-mails: imessar@edu.med.uoc.gr, vchristod@edu.med.uoc.gr, vpapad@med.uoc.gr, and antoniou@med.uoc.gr. Vladimir Ivović, Department of Parasitology, Serbian Centre for Parasitic Zoonoses, Institute for Medical Research, University of Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia, E-mail: ivovic@imi.bg.ac.yu.

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