The estimated distribution of autochthonous leishmaniasis by Leishmania infantum in Europe in 2005–2020

Carla Maia, Cláudia Conceição, André Pereira, Rafael Rocha, Maria Ortuño, Clara Muñozid*, Zarima Jumakanova, Pedro Pérez-Cutillas, Yusuf Özbel, Seray Töz, Gad Baneth, Begoña Monge-Maillo, Elkhan Gasimov, Yves Van der Stede, Gregorio Torres, Céline M. Gossner, Eduardo Berriatua

*Corresponding author for this work

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Background This study describes the spatial and temporal distribution between 2005 and 2020 of human and animal leishmaniasis by Leishmania infantum in European countries reporting autoch-thonous cases, and highlights potential activities to improve disease control. Methodology/Principal findings It was based on a review of the scientific literature and data reported by the World Health Organization (WHO), the World Organization for Animal Health (WOAH) and the Ministries of Health, including hospital discharges in some countries. Autochthonous infections were reported in the scientific literature from 22 countries, including 13 and 21 countries reporting human and animal infections, respectively. In contrast, only 17 countries reported autoch-thonous human leishmaniasis cases to the WHO and 8 countries animal infections to the WOAH. The number of WOAH reported cases were 4,203, comprising 4,183 canine cases and 20 cases in wildlife. Of 8,367 WHO reported human cases, 69% were visceral leishman-iasis cases—of which 94% were autochthonous—and 31% cutaneous leishmaniasis cases —of which 53% were imported and mostly in France. The resulting cumulative incidence per 100,000 population of visceral leishmaniasis between 2005–2020, was highest in Albania (2.15 cases), followed by Montenegro, Malta, Greece, Spain and North Macedonia (0.53– 0.42), Italy (0.16), Portugal (0.09) and lower in other endemic countries (0.07–0.002). However, according to hospital discharges, the estimated human leishmaniasis incidence was 0.70 in Italy and visceral leishmaniasis incidences were 0.67 in Spain and 0.41 in Portugal. Conclusions/Significance Overall, there was no evidence of widespread increased incidence of autochthonous human leishmaniasis by L. infantum in European countries. Visceral leishmaniasis incidence followed a decreasing trend in Albania, Italy and Portugal, and peaked in Greece in 2013, 2014 and 2017, and in Spain in 2006–2007 and 2011–2013. Animal and human cutaneous leishmaniasis remain highly underreported. In humans, hospital discharge databases pro-vide the most accurate information on visceral leishmaniasis and may be a valuable indirect source of information to identify hotspots of animal leishmaniasis. Integrated leishmaniasis surveillance and reporting following the One Health approach, needs to be enhanced in order to improve disease control.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere0011497
JournalPLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Issue number7 July
StatePublished - Jul 2023

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© 2023 Maia et al.


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