Prevention of feline leishmaniosis with an imidacloprid 10%/flumethrin 4.5% polymer matrix collar

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Background: Leishmaniosis caused by Leishmania infantum is one of the most important vector-borne diseases affecting animals and humans worldwide. Dogs are considered main reservoirs of the zoonotic forms, though in the last years the role of cats as reservoirs has been increasingly investigated. Feline leishmaniosis (FeL) occurs in endemic areas and no specific preventive measures have been investigated so far. In this study the efficacy of a 10% imidacloprid/4.5% flumethrin polymer matrix collar, licensed for tick and flea prevention, has been assessed against FeL in a longitudinal study on 204 privately owned cats from the Aeolian islands (Sicily), an area highly endemic for the disease. From March to May 2015 [Study Day 0 (SD 0)], cats negative for FeL were collared (G1, n = 104) or left untreated (G2, n = 100). Diagnosis consisted of serology and qPCR on blood and conjunctival swabs, which were collected at baseline (SD 0) and at the end of the study (SD 360). Interim clinical examinations were performed on SD 210 (when collars were replaced in G1) and SD 270. Results: Of the 159 cats which completed the study, 5 in G1 and 20 in G2 were positive for L. infantum infection, in at least one of the diagnostic tests leading to a yearly crude incidence of 6.3% and 25.0% in G1 and G2, respectively (P = 0.0026). This translates into an efficacy of the collar of 75.0% in preventing feline Leishmania infection. The collar was generally well tolerated with no systemic adverse reactions and few local skin reactions were observed in the application area in four out of 104 treated cats (3.8%). Conclusions: The 10% imidacloprid/4.5% flumethrin collar significantly reduced the risk of L. infantum infection in cats. To our knowledge, this is the first study in which a preventative strategy against feline Leishmania infection is assessed under natural conditions. These findings close a gap in veterinary medicine, in that they confirm this collar as a tool in reducing the risk of Leishmania infection in cats. Such a preventative tool could contribute to the reduction of the risk of the disease in animal and in human populations when included in integrated leishmaniosis control programmes.




Brianti, E., Falsone, L., Napoli, E., Gaglio, G., Giannetto, S., Pennisi, M. G., … Otranto, D. (2017). Prevention of feline leishmaniosis with an imidacloprid 10%/flumethrin 4.5% polymer matrix collar. Parasites and Vectors, 10(1).

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