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Serological Evaluation of Cutaneous Leishmania tropica Infection in Northern Israel

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  • 1 Department of Parasitology, Charles University, Faculty of Science, Prague, Czech Republic;
  • | 2 School of Veterinary Medicine, Hebrew University, Rehovot, Israel;
  • | 3 Department of Pediatrics, Carmel Medical Center, Haifa, Israel;
  • | 4 Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, The Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada, The Kuvin Centre for the Study of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, The Hebrew University - Hadassah Medical School, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Leishmania spp. are medically important unicellular parasites transmitted by phlebotomine sand flies. The World Health Organization recently highlighted the importance of reliable diagnostic tools for leishmaniasis. Our study of human infection was conducted in two endemic foci of Leishmania tropica in the Galilee region, northern Israel. Elevated anti-Leishmania antibodies were present in the majority (78.6%) of L. tropica-PCR positive individuals. Moreover, the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay showed high sensitivity, specificity, and negative and positive predictive values (ranging between 73% and 79%), thus fulfilling the basic requirement for future development of a serodiagnostic and screening tool. The anti-sand fly saliva antibodies used as biomarkers of exposure reflected the composition of the local sand fly fauna as well as the abundance of individual species. High levels of antibodies against vector salivary proteins may further indicate frequent exposure to sand flies and consequently a higher probability of Leishmania transmission.

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Author Notes

Address correspondence to Gad Baneth, Koret School of Veterinary Medicine, The Hebrew University, P.O. Box 12, Rehovot 7610001, Israel. E-mail: gad.baneth@mail.huji.ac.il

Financial support: This work was partially supported by Charles University, the Czech Republic (UNCE 204013, http://www.cuni.cz/UKEN-1.html). The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Authors’ addresses: Iva Rohoušová, Tatiana Spitzová, and Petr Volf, Department of Parasitology, Charles University, Faculty of Science, Prague, Czech Republic, E-mails: kolarova2011@gmail.com, tatiana.spitzova@gmail.com, and volf@cesnet.cz. Dalit Talmi-Frank and Gad Baneth, Koret School of Veterinary Medicine, The Hebrew University, Rehovot, Israel, E-mails: dalitvet@gmail.com and gad.baneth@mail.huji.ac.il. Michaela Vlková, Genome Plasticity and Disease Group, Mater Medical Research Institute, Translation Research Institute Level 4, Woolloongabba, Queensland, Australia, E-mail: michaelakindlova84@gmail.com. Koranit Rishpon, Psychiatric Department, Rambam Medical Center, Haifa, Israel, E-mail: k_rishpon@rambam.health.gov.il. Charles L. Jaffe, Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, The Institute for Medical Research Israel-Canada, The Kuvin Centre for the Study of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, The Hebrew University - Hadassah Medical School, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel, E-mail: cjaffe@cc.huji.ac.il. Moshe Ephros, Department of Pediatrics, Carmel Medical Center, Haifa, Israel, E-mail: mefrat@technion.ac.il.

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