Serological and molecular survey of Leishmania infection in dogs from Venezuela

Aruanai Kalú Rivas, M. Magdalena Alcover, Pamela Martínez-Orellana, Sara Montserrat-Sangrà, Yaarit Nachum-Biala, Roser Fisa, Cristina Riera, Gad Baneth, Laia Solano-Gallego*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Venezuela is a country where human and canine leishmaniosis due to Leishmania infantum, Leishmania braziliensis and other Leishmania spp. is endemic. However, only limited data is available on canine Leishmania infection in Venezuela. The aim of this cross-sectional study was to evaluate the prevalence of Leishmania infection in dogs (n = 152) from the states of Lara (n = 91) and Yaracuy (n = 61) in Venezuela by means of serological and molecular methods. Physical examination was performed and blood samples were collected from all dogs. Serology for antibodies reactive with L. infantum and L. braziliensis antigens was assessed by the enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and detection of Leishmania DNA from blood samples was evaluated by kinetoplast Leishmania real-time polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR). In addition, Leishmania internal transcribed spacer (ITS-1) RT-PCR was performed on the samples positive by kinetoplast RT-PCR. The prevalence of Leishmania infection based on serological and/or molecular techniques was 11.8%. The seroprevalence for L. infantum and L. braziliensis antigens were 2.1% (3/144) and 8.3% (12/144), respectively. All dogs from the state of Yaracuy were serologically negative to L. infantum while 4.6% (4/86) of the dogs were reactive to L. braziliensis antigen. Fourteen percent (8/58) of the dogs from the state of Lara were positive to L. infantum and 5.2% (3/58) to L. braziliensis antigen. Three dogs were positive to both Leishmania spp. antigens. By RT-PCR, 6.5% (4/61) and 4.4% (4/91) of the dogs were positive for infection in the states of Lara and Yaracuy, respectively. The RT-PCR product of one dog from the state of Yaracuy was sequenced revealing a 100% identity with L. infantum. However, all RT-PCR positive dogs were seronegative to both Leishmania spp. antigens. In conclusion, the positivity for Leishmania spp. infections observed indicates that dogs are frequently infected by L. infantum, L. braziliensis or related Leishmania spp. in Venezuela.

Original languageAmerican English
Article number100420
JournalVeterinary Parasitology: Regional Studies and Reports
StatePublished - Jul 2020

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© 2020 Elsevier B.V.


  • Canine
  • Leishmania braziliensis
  • Leishmania infantum
  • PCR
  • Venezuela


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