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Revista da Sociedade Brasileira de Medicina Tropical

Print version ISSN 0037-8682


NAJAFZADEH, Narmin et al. The existence of only one haplotype of Leishmania major in the main and potential reservoir hosts of zoonotic cutaneous leishmaniasis using different molecular markers in a focal area in Iran. Rev. Soc. Bras. Med. Trop. [online]. 2014, vol.47, n.5, pp.599-606. ISSN 0037-8682.


Leishmania major is the causative agent of zoonotic cutaneous leishmaniasis (ZCL), and great gerbils are the main reservoir hosts in Iran. Abarkouh in central Iran is an emerging focal point for which the reservoir hosts of ZCL are unclear. This research project was designed to detect any Leishmania parasites in different wild rodent species.


All rodents captured in 2011 and 2012 from Abarkouh district were identified based on morphological characteristics and by amplification of the rodent cytochrome b (Cyt b) gene. To detect Leishmania infection in rodents, deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) of each ear was extracted. Internal transcribed spacer-ribosomal deoxyribonucleic acid (ITS-rDNA), microsatellites, kinetoplast deoxyribonucleic acid (kDNA) and cytochrome b genes of Leishmania parasites were amplified by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Restriction fragment length polymorphism (RFLP) and sequencing were employed to confirm the Leishmania identification.


Of 68 captured rodents in the region, 55 Rhombomys opimus were identified and nine Leishmaniainfections (9/55) were found. In addition, eight Meriones libycus and two Tatera indicawere sampled, and one of each was confirmed to be infected. Two Meriones persicus and one Mus musculuswere sampled with no infection.


The results showed that all 11 unambiguously positive Leishmania infections were Leishmania major. Only one haplotype of L. major(GenBank access No. EF413075) was found and at least three rodents R. opimus, M. libycus and T. indica—appear to be the main and potential reservoir hosts in this ZCL focus. The reservoir hosts are variable and versatile in small ZCL focal locations.

Keywords : Leishmania parasite; Zoonotic cutaneous leishmaniasis; Rodents; Haplotype; Iran.

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