Outbreak of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis in Northern Israel

Raymond L. Jacobson*, Carol L. Eisenberger, Milena Svobodova, Gad Baneth, Julia Sztern, Jorge Carvalho, Abedelmajeed Nasereddin, Mustafa El Fari, Uri Shalom, Petr Volf, Jan Votypka, Jean Pierre Dedet, Francine Pratlong, Gabriele Schonian, Lionel F. Schnur, Charles L. Jaffe, Alon Warburg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

134 Scopus citations


This study describes a new focus of cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) due to Leishmania tropica, in the Galilee region of northern Israel. Thirty-three cases from 4 villages (northern part) and from the city of Tiberias (southern part) have been clinically diagnosed since 1996. Parasites from 13 patients and from 6 sand flies were characterized by isoenzyme electrophoresis, 2 immunological methods, and 3 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) - based methods. Isolates from the northern part were antigenically similar to Leishmania major and were different from other L. tropica isolates, including those from the southern part of the focus. They belonged to a newly reported zymodeme and were separable from all known Israeli L. tropica isolates, by use of 2 different PCR-based methods. Five (5.2%) of 97 Phlebotomus (Adlerius) arabicus and 2 (1.2%) of 162 Phlebotomus (Paraphlebotomus) sergenti females from the northern part of the focus were found to be infected with L. tropica. Three of 29 hyraxes (Procavia capensis) were positive for Leishmania ribosomal DNA. Thus, the northern part of this emerging focus of CL in Israel is distinct from all known L. tropica foci. P. arabicus is the main vector, and it transmits parasites that are different from other L. tropica isolates, with respect to antigenic, molecular, and biochemical parameters.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1065-1073
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Infectious Diseases
Issue number7
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2003

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Financial support: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (grant SO 220/5–1); The Palestinian-Israeli-German Cooperative project on Leishmaniosis in Israel and The West Bank; Grant Agency of the Czech Republic (grants 206/02/P107 and MSMCR 113100004); Israeli Ministry for the Environment (grant 802–2).


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