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Free Content The recent emergence of Leishmania tropica in Jericho (A'riha) and its environs, a classical focus of L. major

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Between 1997 and 2002, 49 strains of Leishmania were isolated from the cutaneous lesions of Palestinians living in and around Jericho. A polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplifying the ribosomal internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1-PCR) was applied to their cultured promastigotes and to 207 individuals’ skin scrapings spotted on filter-papers, 107 of which proved positive for leishmanial DNA. Species identification was performed by restricting the ITS1-PCR amplification products from the cultured promastigotes and the amastigotes in the scrapings with the endonuclease HaeIII. Of the 49 cultures, 28 (57%) were L. major and 21 (43%) were L. tropica. Of the 107 dermal samples tested directly, 53 (49.5%) were infected with L. major, 52 (48.5%) with L. tropica and two remained unidentified. This is the first time L. tropica has been exposed in the population of the Jericho area and on such a large scale. The itinerant behaviour of some of this population precludes categorically declaring that L. tropica has recently become established in this classical focus of L. major. For this and although 88.2% of the cases of L. tropica claimed not to have travelled out of the vicinity of Jericho, local infected sand fly vectors of L. tropica must be caught, identified and, if possible, shown to harbour infections, and, if one exists, an animal reservoir host should also be exposed to endorse whether the cases caused by L. tropica were imported or autochthonous.

Keywords: ITS1-PCR; Jericho area; Leishmania major; Leishmania tropica; filter papers

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: 1:  Hebrew University-Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem, Israel 2:  Institute of Microbiology and Hygiene, University Medicine, Charité, Berlin, Germany 3:  Department of Community Health, Faculty of Medicine, Abu-Deis, Palestine 4:  Faculty of Public Health, Al-Quds University, Abu-Deis, Palestine 5:  Department of Science and Technology, Al-Quds University, Abu-Deis, Palestine

Publication date: July 1, 2004

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