Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is a zoonosis found worldwide. Its incidence has increased in Brazil in recent years, representing a serious public and animal health problem. The strategies applied in Brazil are questionable and are not sufficient to control the disease. Thus, we have compared the efficacy of some of the currently available strategies focused on dogs to prevent and control zoonotic VL in endemic areas by optimizing a mathematical model. The simulations showed that the elimination of seropositive dogs, the use of insecticide-impregnated dog collars, and the vaccination of dogs significantly contribute to reducing the prevalence of infection in both canines and humans. The use of insecticide-impregnated collars presented the highest level of efficacy mainly because it directly affected the force of infection and vector-dog contact. In addition, when used at a coverage rate of 90%, insecticide-impregnated collar was able to decrease the prevalence of seropositive dogs and humans to zero; moreover, because of the easy application and acceptance by the targeted population, these collars may be considered the most feasible for inclusion in public policies among the three simulated measures. Vaccination and euthanasia were efficacious, but the latter method is strongly criticized on ethical grounds, and both methods present difficulties for inclusion in public policies. When we compared the use of euthanasia and vaccination at coverages of 70 and 90%, respectively, the proportion of infected populations were similar. However, on evaluating the implications of both of these methods, particularly the negative aspects of culling dogs and the proportion of animals protected by vaccination, the latter measure appears to be the better option if the total cost is not significantly higher. The comparison of complications and advantages of different control strategies allows us to analyze the optimal measure and offer strategies to veterinary and public health authorities for making decisions to prevent and control zoonotic VL. Hence, improvements in both public and animal health can be achieved in regions with scenarios similar to that considered in the present study; such scenarios are characteristically found in some areas of Brazil and other countries.
Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is an important neglected disease caused by a protozoan parasite, and represents a serious public health problem in many parts of the world. It is zoonotic in Europe and Latin America, where infected dogs constitute the main domestic reservoir for the parasite and play a key role in VL transmission to humans. In Brazil this disease is caused by the protozoan Leishmania infantum chagasi, and is transmitted by the sand fly Lutzomyia longipalpis. Despite programs aimed at eliminating infection sources, the disease continues to spread throughout the Country. VL in São Paulo State, Brazil, first appeared in the northwestern region, spreading in a southeasterly direction over time. We integrate data on the VL vector, infected dogs and infected human dispersion from 1999 to 2013 through an innovative spatial temporal Bayesian model in conjunction with geographic information system. This model is used to infer the drivers of the invasion process and predict the future progression of VL through the State. We found that vector dispersion was influenced by vector presence in nearby municipalities at the previous time step, proximity to the Bolívia-Brazil gas pipeline, and high temperatures (i.e., annual average between 20 and 23°C). Key factors affecting infected dog dispersion included proximity to the Marechal Rondon Highway, high temperatures, and presence of the competent vector within the same municipality. Finally, vector presence, presence of infected dogs, and rainfall (approx. 270 to 540mm/year) drove the dispersion of human VL cases. Surprisingly, economic factors exhibited no noticeable influence on disease dispersion. Based on these drivers and stochastic simulations, we identified which municipalities are most likely to be invaded by vectors and infected hosts in the future. Prioritizing prevention and control strategies within the identified municipalities may help halt the spread of VL while reducing monitoring costs. Our results contribute important knowledge to public and animal health policy planning, and suggest that prevention and control strategies should focus on vector control and on blocking contact between vectors and hosts in the priority areas identified to be at risk.
Euthanasia of infected dogs is one of the measures adopted in Brazil to control visceral leishmaniasis (VL) in endemic areas. To detect infected dogs, animals are screened with the rapid test DPP® Visceral Canine Leishmaniasis for detection of antibodies against K26/K39 fusion antigens of amastigotes (DPP). DPP-positives are confirmed with an immunoenzymatic assay probing soluble antigens of promastigotes (ELISA), while DPP-negatives are considered free of infection. Here, 975 dogs from an endemic region were surveyed by using DPP, ELISA and real-time PCR (qPCR) for the diagnosis of VL. When DPP-negative dogs were tested by qPCR applied in blood and lymph node aspirates, 174/887 (19·6%) were positive in at least one sample. In a second sampling using 115 cases, the DPP-negative dogs were tested by qPCR in blood, lymph node and conjunctival swab samples, and 36/79 (45·6%) were positive in at least one sample. Low-to-moderate pairwise agreement was observed between all possible pair of tests. In conclusion, the official diagnosis of VL in dogs in Brazilian endemic areas failed to accuse an expressive number of infected animals and the impact of the low accuracy of serological tests in the success of euthanasia-based measure for VL control need to be assessed.
Phlebotomine (Diptera, Psychodidae, Phlebotominae) taxonomy has been studied extensively, primarily due to the role of these flies as vectors of various parasites, including species of Leishmania, Bartonella and arboviruses that cause diseases in humans and other vertebrates. We present some topics discussed at a round-table on phlebotomine taxonomy held at the Ninth International Symposium on Phlebotomine Sandflies (ISOPS IX) in Reims, France, in June 2016. To date, approximately one thousand phlebotomine species have been described worldwide, although in varying languages and mostly without standardization of characters and terminology. In the interest of standardization, we list the characters that should minimally be considered in the description of new phlebotomine taxa as well as annotated illustrations of several characters. For these characters, multiple illustrations are provided to show some of the variations. The preferred terms for all pertinent characters are listed as well as their synonyms in English, Portuguese, and French. Finally, we offer an updated list of abbreviations to be used for generic and subgeneric names.
BackgroundVisceral leishmaniasis (VL) is an infectious disease with a variety of clinical signs. The main form of parasite transmission to humans and other mammalian hosts is through the bite of infected arthropod females with Lutzomyia longipalpis serving as the main vector in the Americas. Dogs are the main urban domestic reservoirs of the parasite and the main source of vector infection due to their high prevalence in endemic areas and the large number of parasites in the skin of infected animals. Although miltefosine has been used in Europe since 2002 for treatment of VL infected dogs, in the Americas the treatment of dogs has not been recommended. Therefore, this study aimed to evaluate efficacy of miltefosine observing a reduction of clinical signs in infected dogs and the infectiveness to the vector by Leishmania (L.) infantum.MethodsTo our knowledge, this is the first controlled study using qPCR and xenodiagnosis to evaluate the efficacy of miltefosine (Milteforan®, Virbac) as a single treatment in Brazil. Thirty-five adult dogs with canine visceral leishmaniasis (CVL), confirmed by clinical and laboratory tests, were included in this study. They received miltefosine at a dose of 2 mg/kg every 24 h for 28 days. The dogs were observed over a three-month period, during which clinical evaluations based on a scoring system were conducted at pre-established times. Parasite load was assessed by cytology and real-time polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). Transmissibility to the vector was evaluated by xenodiagnosis.ResultsAt the end of the period, the following were observed: (i) the remission of clinical signs with a reduction in clinical scores for 94.2% of the animals; (ii) a statistically significant reduction (98.7%) in parasitic load by qPCR; and (iii) a reduction in infectivity to sand flies. After treatment, 74.2% of the animals remained or had become non-infectious.ConclusionsOur study indicates that the use of miltefosine administered orally for 4 weeks contributes to a clinical improvement and reduction in infectivity of dogs to L. infantum.
Although a national programme for control of visceral leishmaniosis (VL) is being run in Brazil, the disease continues to spread. This programme is essentially based on culling infected dogs from endemic regions. Thus, there is an urgent need to develop other control measures against VL to deter its advance. Here, a subunit vaccine, a recombinant vaccine, an insecticide-impregnated collar and the associations between these measures were evaluated for reducing the incidence of Leishmania infection in dogs. This was through a cohort study conducted in an endemic region of Brazil, considering the incidence and time of total exposure over a period of 1 year. The incidence of VL was estimated by means of serological and molecular diagnostic tests, 180 and 360 days after the application of the control measures. The estimates of the effectiveness (EF) were not significant in any cohort. The EF of the subunit vaccine, the recombinant vaccine and the collar were 26.4%, 32.8% and 57.7% and the upper limit of the 95% confidence interval for EF were 63.7%, 67.9% and 82.5%, respectively. In conclusion, under the conditions of this study, none of the immunogens for VL control was sufficiently effective to protect dogs against infection. On the other hand, use of collars impregnated with insecticide seems to constitute a method with better prognosis, corroborating other studies in this field.
BackgroundVisceral leishmaniasis (VL) is an important public health challenge in Brazil because of the high number of human and canine cases reported annually. Leishmania infantum is the etiological agent of VL and Lutzomyia longipalpis is its main vector. However, evidence suggests that this taxon constitutes a species complex. In Sao Paulo state, there are two populations of Lu. longipalpis, each secreting distinct pheromones, (S)-9-methylgermacrene-B and Cembrene 1; both have been associated with different patterns of VL transmission. The aim of the present study was to investigate the temporal distribution and natural infection of the (S)-9-methylgermacrene-B population of the Lu. longipalpis complex in a highly VL endemic area of Sao Paulo state to obtain information that may contribute to the surveillance of this zoonosis and to the planning of preventive and control measures.MethodsThe study was carried out in Panorama municipality, Sao Paulo State. Captures were made during 24 months in seven domiciles. The relation between sand fly abundance and climatic variables, temperature and humidity, was analyzed and natural infection by Leishmania spp. in sand fly females was investigated by nested PCR.ResultsA total of 4120 sand flies, with predominance of Lu. longipalpis (97.2%) were captured. The highest averages of sand flies/night/trap occurred in the rainy season (November-March) and a positive, significant correlation between sand fly abundance and the temperature and humidity 20 days before the capture days was found. Leishmania infantum DNA was detected in three out of 250 pools of females analyzed, giving an estimated minimum infection rate of 1.2%.ConclusionThe identification of the climatic association between the high abundance of the vector in this highly endemic VL focus constitutes a fundamental point for evaluating future vector and dog control measures and this information increases the data of VL foci in Sao Paulo state that could contribute to the public health authorities in planning prevention and control measures. The identification of natural infection by Le. infantum in Lu. longipalpis specimens reinforces the importance of entomological surveillance activities in this municipality.
BackgroundAmerican tegumentary leishmaniasis is a serious Brazilian public health problem. This diseases is attributed to seven species of Leishmania, however, the majority of cases are associated with Leishmania braziliensis. Some phlebotomine species have been implicated in the transmission of this parasite, nonetheless only Psychodopygus wellcomei has had its vectorial competence demonstrated. Thus this study sought to assess some parameters related to the vectorial capacity of anthropophilic species of sand fly occurring in São Paulo state: Pintomyia fischeri, Migonemyia migonei Nyssomyia intermedia, Nyssomyia whitmani, Expapillata firmatoi and Psychodopygus ayrozai, under laboratory conditions. These parameters were the duration of the gonotrophic cycle, proportion of females which feed on hamster, the rate of infection by L. braziliensis and the duration of the extrinsic incubation period.MethodsThe sandflies were collected in three regions of the São Paulo state: Greater São Paulo and the Mogi Guaçu and Iporanga municipalities. To assess the proportion of engorged females the insects were fed on hamsters to estimate the duration of the gonotrophic cycle. To estimate the susceptibility to infection of each species, their females were fed on hamsters infected with Leishmania braziliensis and dissected to ascertain the localization of the flagellates and estimate the extrinsic incubation period.ResultsLow hamster attractiveness to Ps. ayrozai was observed. A high proportion of engorged females was observed when the hamster had its whole body exposed. The gonotrophic cycle ranged between three and eight days. Mg. migonei, Pi. fischeri, Ny. neivai, Ny. intermedia, Ny. whitmani and Ex.firmatoi presented susceptibility to infection by L. braziliensis. The highest infection rate (34.4%) was observed for Ny. whitmani and the lowest for Ny. intermedia (6.6%). Mg. migonei presented late-stage infection forms on the fifth day after feeding, but in the other species these forms were observed as from the fourth day.ConclusionsOur results, together with other parameters of their behavior under natural conditions, suggest the potential role of Ex. firmatoi as vector of this parasite and reinforce that of Mg. migonei, Pi. fischeri, Ny. neivai, Ny. intermedia and Ny. whitmani in the areas in which they occur.
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