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Assessment of Leishmania infantum infection in equine populations in a canine visceral leishmaniosis transmission area

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BACKGROUND: Leishmaniosis, zoonosis that produces significant public health impacts, is caused by Leishmania infantum. Canines are the main domestic reservoir and, besides humans, other species of mammals could be infected when living in endemic areas. In this study, we detected equine Leishmania infantum infections in a canine visceral leishmaniosis transmission area and evaluated the clinical, haematological, biochemical and oxidative stress disorders. This study was conducted in Uruguaiana, Rio Grande do Sul, south of Brazil. Peripheral blood samples were collected from 124 animals (98 horses and 26 dogs) of both genders and several breeds after they underwent general and dermatologic examinations. RESULTS: Twenty five Leishmania infantum infected animals (20.16%), 14 horses and 11 dogs were detected by PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) amplification of kinetoplast DNA regions with 96% homology to Leishmania infantum (GenBank Accession No. L 19877.1). The clinical and haematological alterations of infected equines were skin lesions, nodules, lymphadenopathy, decreased levels in red blood cells and haematocrit (p < 0.05) and increase in urea serum concentration (p < 0.05), while CVL presented a decrease in red blood cells counts (p < 0.05), increase in lymphocytes (p < 0.05), and decrease in neutrophil-lymphocyte ratio (p < 0.05). Oxidative stress markers of plasma protein carbonyl and plasma lipid peroxidation were not statistically significant (p > 0.05) in both species. CONCLUSIONS: To our knowledge, this has been the first leishmaniosis equine survey performed in south of Brazil, caused by Leishmania infantum that were able to initially identify haematological and biochemical changes in the species, even in asymptomatic animals. We present evidence supporting those findings of haematological and biochemical changes could be related to infection. Surprisingly, the clinical manifestations of equine infection were similar to those found in canine visceral leishmaniosis. The equine population could be play an important role in the cycle of leishmaniosis in south Brazil and consequently indicates a great risk of public health. This evaluation of infected animals is important to establish the clinical and laboratory parameters involved in the disease progression.




Escobar, T. A., Dowich, G., Dos Santos, T. P., Zuravski, L., Duarte, C. A., Lübeck, I., & Manfredini, V. (2019). Assessment of Leishmania infantum infection in equine populations in a canine visceral leishmaniosis transmission area. BMC Veterinary Research, 15(1), 381.

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