Molecular detection of Leishmania infantum in wild rodents (Rattus norvegicus) in Greece.
Leishmania infantum and Leishmania tropica are the species responsible for visceral leishmaniasis and cutaneous leishmaniasis respectively. In Greece, both diseases are endemic. The dog is considered the main reservoir of L. infantum, whereas the role of other animals for both L. infantun and L. tropica is unknown. Spleens from wild Rattus norvegicus, live trapped in Greece, were examined for the presence of Leishmania parasites by PCR. Out of 16 samples examined, only one was found positive for L. infantum with scant amount of parasitic DNA present. This is the first documented case of detection of L. infantum in R. norvegicus in Greece. The results of this preliminary study indicate that R. norvegicus is unlikely to be a reservoir for Leishmania parasites in Greece.