Seroepidemiological Investigation of Visceral Leishmaniasis in Dogs of Ahvaz, Iran
Visceral leishmaniasis is a parasitic infectious transmissible disease from dogs and canids to human that is caused by protozoans of the genus Leishmania. Infected dogs serve as reservoirs of the disease in many countries. Information on the prevalence of canine leishmaniasis is necessary to define control measures for zoonotic leishmaniasis. This seroepidemiological survey was performed in dogs from Ahvaz district using by DAT and ELISA from October 2003 to March 2004. Blood was randomly collected in 38 pure or mixed breed dogs presented to veterinary hospital of Ahvaz Shahid Chamran university (urban dogs) and 172 mongrel dogs of 10 villages around Ahvaz city (rural dogs). A high level of concordance (98%) was found between the titers measured by DAT and ELISA then DAT selected as valid and simple test. The detected seroprevalences based on DAT were 2.6% and 16.3% in urban and rural dogs respectively. No statistically significant difference was observed between male and female seroprevalences in each groups (P>0.05). Regarding age-groups of rural dogs, the lowest of seroprevalence (5.3%) was found in dogs younger than one year of age and the highest (33.3%) in dogs older than seven years. Only between of these two groups was statistically significant difference (P<0.05). In rural dogs was not statistically significant difference between village seroprevalences (P>0.05). This study revealed the importance of the dog as a reservoir for visceral leishmaniasis in Ahvaz district. It seems that seroprevalence of disease in rural dogs from Ahvaz district is similar to Endemic area as of Mediterranean countries.