Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Molecular detection of Leishmania major kDNA from wild rodents in a new focus of zoonotic cutaneous leishmaniasis in an oriental region of Iran.

Abstract

Human cutaneous leishmaniasis is one of the most challenging public health issues in many tropical and subtropical countries of the world, including Iran. More than half (54%) of the new zoonotic cutaneous leishmaniasis (ZCL) cases among the Eastern Mediterranean countries were reported from Iran in 2008. The detection of Leishmania parasites in rodents is essential to incriminate them as probable reservoir hosts of ZCL infection. As a result of the annual detection of about 200-250 clinical ZCL cases in the Jask district of southern Iran, feral rodents were trapped, identified to species level, and examined for Leishmania presence by preparing routine blood smears on microscopic slides from 2007 to 2008. Overall, 27 Tatera indica, 17 Gerbillus nanus, 29 Meriones persicus, 26 M. hurrianae, and 7 M. libycus were identified. Females of T. indica, M. hurrianae, and G. nanus appeared to be naturally infected with the protozoan parasite, L. major. This is the first report of microscopic and molecular detection of this trypanosomatid parasite infecting these three rodents reported from Hormozgan province in southeast Iran. More than three-quarters (82%) of the parasite-infected rodents came from the eastern plain of this province, but none of the other rodents were found to be smear-positive or kinetoplast DNA-positive by PCR. M. hurrianae, G. nanus, and T. indica are therefore incriminated as three potential reservoir hosts of L. major in Oriental parts of Iran.