Canine leishmaniasis in an endemic region, Northeastern Brazil: a comparative study with four groups of animals.
Canine leishmaniasis (CanL) is a zoonosis caused by protozoa of the genus Leishmania and remains an important public health concern in tropical areas. In Brazil, domestic dogs are considered the most relevant reservoir of the parasite and one of the main targets of the disease control actions. Considering this, we aimed herein to evaluate the CanL infection in different canine groups and distribution of cases in the state of Sergipe, an endemic region in Northeastern Brazil. The evaluated 467 animals were classified into four groups: hunting (n = 50), company (n = 64), guard (n = 140), and wandering (n = 213). Samples (blood, bone marrow, conjunctival swab, and lymph node aspirate) were collected from animals in nine municipalities of Sergipe. First, all animals were submitted to general and ophthalmic clinical examination. Next, they were tested serologically by TR-DPP®, and for the presence of Leishmania, amastigotes in samples of bone marrow, conjunctival swab, and lymph node aspirate were diagnosed by PCR and parasitological techniques. It was observed that 34.69% (162) of the evaluated dogs were seropositive. The highest rates of positivity were found in hunting 54% (27/50; OR = 3.52; p-value = 0.001) and guard dogs 42.14% (59/140; OR = 2.18; p-value = 0.01). Otherwise, the highest percentage of symptomatic dogs was observed in wandering animals (85%; OR = 9.63; p-value < 0.0001). The distribution of case analysis showed that the highest positivity rates occurred in inland municipalities situated in arid regions. Taken together, our data demonstrate that hunting and guard dogs are among the animals most exposed and affected by clinical manifestations of CanL, mainly in the inland municipalities of Sergipe State.