Author(s): Ivović Vladimir, Kalan Katja, Zupan Sara, Bužan Elena
Keywords:Leishmania, Phlebotomine sandflies, Rodents
Apart from being against the law, illegal waste dumping also poses a threat to human health and to the environment. Solid and decomposing waste is an ideal breeding ground for a number of rodents, insects, and other vermin that pose a health risk through the spread of infectious diseases. The main objective of this study was to survey disease vectors and rodents for the presence of Leishmania sp. from waste sites along the Istrian Peninsula in Slovenia and Croatia. During the survey five sandfly (Phlebotomus neglectus, P. perniciosus, P. papatasi, P. mascitii, Sergentomyia minuta) and five rodent species were collected (Rattus rattus, Mus musculus, Apodemus agrarius, A. flavicollis and A. sylvaticus). Sandflies and rodents were screened using a molecular probe to amplify an approximately 120 bp fragment of the kinetoplast DNA (kDNA) minicircle for the detection of Leishmania sp. parasites. Leishmania infantum DNA was detected in the spleen of one juvenile black rat (R. rattus). Despite few published records on Leshmania sp. infection in black rats, the addition of our record highlights the importance of further investigation into the frequency and distribution of such occurrences so that we may better classify the role of rodents as potential reservoirs of leishmaniasis in the Mediterranean basin.
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