Epidemiological and genetic characteristics of asymptomatic canine leishmaniasis and implications for human Leishmania infections in Egypt.

Citation:
Mai Abuowarda, M., H. O. AbuBakr, E. Ismael, M. Shaalan, M. A. Mohamed, and S. H. Aljuaydi, "Epidemiological and genetic characteristics of asymptomatic canine leishmaniasis and implications for human Leishmania infections in Egypt.", Zoonoses and public health, vol. 68, issue 5, pp. 413-430, 2021.

Abstract:

Leishmaniasis is a neglected zoonotic disease that poses significant veterinary and public health risks in developing countries. Dogs act as a reservoir host for leishmaniasis transmitted to humans. A total of 108 human cases of cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) were identified in the Al-Houd Al-Marsoud Hospital in Cairo, Egypt, during 2018. Blood samples and skin biopsies were collected for further examination. Blood samples from 96 asymptomatic dogs were collected. All samples were subjected to molecular and phylogenetic analysis. Quantitative RT-PCR was used to measure the expression of genes related to mTOR signalling and inflammation in blood and tissue samples. The distribution pattern of human cases pointed to an endemic focus in North Sinai (66.67%). The prevalence of asymptomatic canine leishmaniasis was 66.60%. Histopathological examination of human skin lesions revealed a severe granulomatous inflammatory reaction, necrosis and ulceration. Moreover, leishmanial amastigotes could be detected in human tissue samples. Phylogenetic analysis revealed 100% identity of human isolates to Leishmania tropica (MN453682), and dog isolates to Leishmania infantum (MN453673), with 94.9% similarity between the two isolates. Gene expression related to mTOR signalling and inflammation in both species' samples confirmed a significant alteration of EIF4EBP1, CCR4 and INF-γ expression compared with control groups. In Egypt, increased incidence of asymptomatic carrier dogs acting as a significant reservoir host for Leishmania poses a public health hazard. Findings warrant further epidemiological investigation of CL in Egypt, as well as additional study of parasite differentiation and gene regulation.