Prevalence and Spatial Analysis of House-Level Factors Associated with Visceral Leishmaniasis in an Urban Area of Northeastern Brazil
Various factors contribute to the spreading and maintenance of visceral leishmaniasis (VL). The aims of the present study were to determine whether domestic animals living within a 250-m perimeter of each household in which human visceral leishmaniasis (HVL) were identified may act as reservoirs or sentinels of the disease, and to identify possible factors associated with the VL occurrence in Juazeiro County, Bahia State, northeastern Brazil. Serology and qPCR were performed in blood samples from 498 animals: 383 dogs, 84 cats, 15 goats, 9 donkeys, 4 sheep and 3 horses. The overall prevalence of VL was 6.43% (32/498); 5.75% (22/383) dogs and 11.9% (10/84) cats. Cats were two times more likely to have VL than dogs (OR = 2.21; 95% CI, 1.1–4.87), suggesting that cats may be involved in the epidemiological cycle of VL in the studied area. The presence of > 1 animal per household (OR = 3.46; IC = 1.49–8.06) was associated with infection. No significant association was found between the number of people per household, distance from HVL cases, type of house walls, number of rooms, or the presence of dirt backyard and positivity to L. infantum chagasi on animals. Spatial analysis for the presence of chickens, garbage and weeds in the peri-domestic area, and lack of sewage system showed that these factors may constitute a high risk for the maintenance and spreading of VL in the west regions of the studied area.