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Natural infection of Ctenodactylus gundi by Leishmania major in Tunisia

Ghawar, Wissem, Bettaieb, Jihène, Salem, Sadok, Snoussi, Mohammed-Ali, Jaouadi, Kaouther, Yazidi, Rihab, Ben-Salah, Afif
Acta tropica 2018 v.177 pp. 89-93
DNA, Leishmania major, Leishmania tropica, cutaneous leishmaniasis, disease reservoirs, liver, parasites, rodents, spleen, Tunisia
Incriminating new rodent species, as reservoir hosts of Leishmania parasites is crucial for understanding the transmission cycle of cutaneous leishmaniasis in Tunisia. Ctenodactylus (C.) gundi was previously described as extremely abundant in all Tunisian Leishmania (L.) tropica foci in south Tunisia besides its presence in L. major endemic area. The aim of this study was to detect Leishmania species parasites among C. gundi in two endemic regions in Tunisia: Sidi Bouzid and Tataouine.Total DNA was isolated from the spleens and the livers of 92C. gundi. Leishmaniasis clinical manifestations were detected among 11 rodents (12%). Leishmania parasites were detected in 30 (32.6%) rodents using direct exam method. Leishmania DNA was detected in 40 (43.5%) C. gundi by combining results among spleens and livers using ITS1-PCR. Positive samples were confirmed to be L. major except for only one specimen which was L. tropica.These results demonstrated, for the first time, the high natural infection rate of C. gundi with L. major parasites in Tunisia. Hence, C. gundi should be considered as potential reservoir host of Leishmania parasites causing cutaneous leishmaniasis in Tunisia.