Barra de Guaratiba is a coastal area of the city of Rio de Janeiro where American visceral leishmaniasis (AVL) is endemic. Although control measures including killing of dogs and use of insecticides have been applied at this locality, the canine seroprevalence remains at 25% and during 1995 and 1997 eight autochthonous human cases were notified. In order to evaluate factors related to the increase of the risk for Leishmania (Leishmania) chagasi infection in dogs we have screened 365 dogs by anti-Leishmania immunofluorescent antibody test (IFAT) and captured sandflies in the domestic and peridomestic environment. Some variables related to the infection were assessed by uni- and multivariate analysis. The distance of the residence from the forest border, its altitude and the presence of the opossum Didelphis marsupialis in the backyard, were found predictor factors for L. (L.) chagasi infection in dogs in Barra de Guaratiba. The presence of Lutzomyia longipalpis in the peridomestic environment indicates the possibility of appearence of new human cases. Our data also suggest the presence of a sylvatic enzootic cycle at this locality.
Visceral leishmaniasis; Epidemiology; Reservoirs