Epidemiological aspects and spatial distribution of human and canine visceral leishmaniasis in an endemic area in northeastern Brazil

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Roseane Campos
Márcio Santos
Gabriel Tunon
Luana Cunha
Lucas Magalhães
Juliana Moraes
Danielle Ramalho
Sanmy Lima
José Antônio Pacheco
Michael Lipscomb
Amélia Ribeiro de Jesus
Roque Pacheco de Almeida *
(*) Corresponding Author:
Roque Pacheco de Almeida | roquepachecoalmeida@gmail.com

Abstract

Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is a systemic disease endemic in tropical countries and transmitted through sand flies. In particular, Canis familiaris (or domesticated dogs) are believed to be a major urban reservoir for the parasite causing the disease Leishmania. The average number of human VL cases was 58 per year in the state of Sergipe. The city of Aracaju, capital of Sergipe in Northeastern Brazil, had 159 cases of VL in humans. Correlatively, the percentage of serologically positive dogs for leishmaniasis increased from 4.73% in 2008 to 12.69% in 2014. Thus, these studies aimed to delineate the spatial distribution and epidemiological aspects of human and canine VL as mutually supportive for increased incidence. The number of human cases of VL and the frequency of canine positive serology for VL both increased between 2008 and 2014. Spatial distribution analyses mapped areas of the city with the highest concentration of human and canine VL cases. The neighbourhoods that showed the highest disease frequency were located on the outskirts of the city and in urbanised areas or subjected to development. Exponential increase in VL-positive dogs further suggests that the disease is expanding in urban areas, where it can serve as a reservoir for transmission of dogs to humans via the sand fly vector.

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