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Preventing Zoonotic Canine Leishmaniasis in Northeastern Brazil: Pet Attachment and Adoption of Community Leishmania Prevention

Kevin J. EschDepartment of Veterinary Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa; Department of Biochemistry, Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil; Department of Veterinary Diagnostics and Production Animal Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Ames, Iowa; Centro do Zoonoses, Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil; Department of Biochemistry, Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil

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Nubia N. PontesDepartment of Veterinary Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa; Department of Biochemistry, Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil; Department of Veterinary Diagnostics and Production Animal Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Ames, Iowa; Centro do Zoonoses, Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil; Department of Biochemistry, Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil

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Paulo ArrudaDepartment of Veterinary Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa; Department of Biochemistry, Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil; Department of Veterinary Diagnostics and Production Animal Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Ames, Iowa; Centro do Zoonoses, Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil; Department of Biochemistry, Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil

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Annette O'ConnorDepartment of Veterinary Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa; Department of Biochemistry, Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil; Department of Veterinary Diagnostics and Production Animal Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Ames, Iowa; Centro do Zoonoses, Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil; Department of Biochemistry, Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil

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Lorena MoraisDepartment of Veterinary Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa; Department of Biochemistry, Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil; Department of Veterinary Diagnostics and Production Animal Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Ames, Iowa; Centro do Zoonoses, Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil; Department of Biochemistry, Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil

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Selma M. B. JeronimoDepartment of Veterinary Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa; Department of Biochemistry, Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil; Department of Veterinary Diagnostics and Production Animal Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Ames, Iowa; Centro do Zoonoses, Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil; Department of Biochemistry, Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil

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Christine A. PetersenDepartment of Veterinary Pathology, College of Veterinary Medicine, Iowa State University, Ames, Iowa; Department of Biochemistry, Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil; Department of Veterinary Diagnostics and Production Animal Medicine, College of Veterinary Medicine, Ames, Iowa; Centro do Zoonoses, Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil; Department of Biochemistry, Federal University of Rio Grande do Norte (UFRN), Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil

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Visceral leishmaniasis (VL), caused by Leishmania infantum chagasi (L.i. chagasi syn. infantum) in northeastern Brazil, was responsible for 51,000 new VL cases from 1980 to 2003. Household presence of L. infantum-infected dogs is a major risk factor for human infection. Despite culling of dogs based on seropositivity, canine L. infantum seroprevalence remains near 20%, suggesting that dog culling is ineffective for preventing VL spread. We administered a cross-sectional survey to 224 households within 300 m of the homes of VL human patients diagnosed within the last year. The goal was to develop a model for voluntary preventative use based on characteristics and motivations of dog owners. We identified that owner knowledge deficiencies regarding canine transmission of L. infantum associated with increased risk of dog infection (odds ratio [OR] = 3.681, confidence interval [CI] = 1.223, 11.08). Higher owner education was associated with decreased levels of dog seropositivity (OR = 0.40, CI = 0.20, 0.81). Pet attachment (P = 0.036) and perception of risk/disease knowledge (P = 0.040) were significantly associated with willingness to voluntarily purchase canine VL prevention. These results highlight the importance of owner attachment to their pet in implementing reservoir-targeted zoonotic VL prevention.

Author Notes

* Address correspondence to Christine A. Petersen, 2714 Vet Med, Ames, IA 50011. E-mail: kalicat@iastate.edu

Financial support: This project was funded through the Pfizer Animal Health/Morris Animal Foundation Veterinary Fellowship for Advanced Degrees, the NEWAID Foundation Fellowship for Research in Neglected Tropical Disease, and National Institutes of Health Grant 1 R21 AI088051-01.

Authors' addresses: Kevin J. Esch, Iowa State University, Veterinary Pathology, Ames, IA, E-mail: kjesch@iastate.edu. Nubia N. Pontes and Selma M. B. Jeronimo, Universidad Federal de Rio de Norte, Biochemistry, Natal, Brazil, E-mails: np12@ufrn.br and smbj@ufrn.br. Paulo Arruda and Annette O'Connor, Iowa State University, Veterinary Diagnostics and Preventative Medicine, Ames, IA, E-mails: paulohea@iastate.edu and oconnor@iastate.edu. Lorena Morais, Department of Public Health, Centro do Zoonoses, Natal, Brazil, E-mail: morrais.lorena@cz.rn.bz. Christine A. Petersen, Iowa State University, Ames, IA, E-mail: kalicat@iastate.edu.

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