JOURNAL OF TROPICAL PEDIATRICS, vol.52, no.3, pp.212-217, 2006 (SCI-Expanded)
Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) caused by Leishmania infantum, is an endemic disease in Aegean and Mediterranean Regions among humans and dogs. In this study, a sero-epidemiological survey for VL and cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL), which both are sporadically reported in the region, were carried out in the villages of Eskisehir, Afyon, and Bilecik cities. The study was designed according to the location of the sporadic cases of VL and CL, and blood samples of 111 dogs were randomly collected. Lymph node aspiration samples were taken from dogs that have popliteal lymphadenopathy. Sand flies were also collected using CDC light traps in the several localities. The sera samples were screened using IFAT, ELISA, rk39 ELISA and dip-stick tests for anti-Leishmania antibodies. A total of 15 (13.51 per cent) dogs out of 111 were found to be seropositive by at least one of the tests. The seropositivity ratios among dogs were found to be 27.5 per cent (8/29), 9.09 per cent (4/44) and 7.8 per cent (3/38) in Afyon, Bilecik and Eskisehir cities respectively. Leishmania amastigotes were detected in 4 of the 14 lymph node aspiration samples (eight seronegative, six seropositive), and all of them were seropositive dogs. One year later, two of the dogs were found to be dead and the other two were severely ill. Among the 179 collected Phlebotomus specimens from, Phlebotomus major was found to be abundant (35.7 per cent) and the other species were P. simici (28.5 per cent), P. similis (34.7 per cent) and P. alexandri (1.1 per cent). In the study area, canine VL is more spread than human VL. Because dogs are playing an important role for VL in Mediterranean Basin, and development of appropriate control measures will be necessary for childhood VL.