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Free Content Leishmaniasis in Portugal: enzyme polymorphism of Leishmania infantum based on the identification of 213 strains

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This study reports isoenzyme polymorphism of Leishmania strains isolated in different regions of Portugal between 1982 and 2005. A total of 213 strains were obtained from cases of visceral and cutaneous leishmaniasis isolated from immunocompetent patients (adults and children) and immunocompromised adults, as well as from dogs and sandflies. Four zymodemes were identified: MON-1, MON-24, MON-29 and MON-80. Zymodeme MON-1 was identified in 96.7% of the strains, predominating in both immunocompetent and immunocompromised human patients, and it was the only zymodeme isolated from dogs. Isoenzyme diversity in HIV-infected patients was higher than in the immunocompetent group, in which all the strains from visceral leishmaniasis were MON-1. The domestic dog was confirmed as the reservoir host of zoonotic leishmaniasis in Portugal and Phlebotomus perniciosus and Phlebotomus ariasi as vectors. The overall low enzyme polymorphism observed in the Portuguese foci contrasts with the neighbouring foci in Spain.
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Keywords: Leishmania infantum; Portugal; epidemiology; zymodemes

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1:  Unidade de Leishmanioses, Instituto de Higiene e Medicina Tropical, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal 2:  Centre National de Référence des Leishmania, Université de Montpellier, Montpellier, France 3:  Unidade de Entomologia Médica, Instituto de Higiene e Medicina Tropical, Universidade Nova de Lisboa, Lisboa, Portugal

Publication date: November 1, 2006

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