First Report of Autochthonous Canine Leishmaniasis in Hong Kong

Jeanine Sandy*, Anthony Matthews, Yaarit Nachum-Biala, Gad Baneth

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Canine leishmaniasis is a zoonotic disease caused by Leishmania infantum; transmitted by the bite of phlebotomine sand flies. Leishmania infantum amastigotes were identified by cytology from a locally born Hong Kong dog exhibiting nasal, cutaneous, and systemic disease who was part of a kennel of eight dogs. All eight kennel dogs were subsequently tested serologically by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) followed by DNA sequencing for L. infantum infection. The local dog was seropositive and blood and splenic tissue were PCR positive for L. infantum whilst the other kennel dogs were negative on serology and PCR. Autochthonous transmission was suspected for the local dog as Hong Kong lacks known vectors of L. infantum. Either vertical transmission from the deceased dam who had previously died with disease suspicious for leishmaniasis or horizontal transmission from a second non-locally born kennel dog who had been diagnosed previously with leishmaniasis was possible. This is the first recorded autochthonous case of canine leishmaniasis in Hong Kong. Leishmaniasis should be considered as a differential for cutaneous or systemic illness in local untraveled dogs in Hong Kong. In addition, as dogs serve as L. infantum reservoirs for human infection attention should be paid to the possibility of leishmaniasis emerging in Hong Kong.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number1873
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2022

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  • Hong Kong
  • Leishmania infantum
  • canine
  • phlebotomine


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