Molecular detection of Leishmania infantum in road-killed carnivores from North of Iran, Golestan Province

Document Type : Research Article


Assistant professor, Department of Environmental sciences, Faculty of fisheries and environmental sciences, Gorgan University of Agricultural Sciences & Natural Resources, Gorgan- Iran.


Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is an emerging zoonosis disease in countries of the Mediterranean basin caused by Leishmania infantum. Although domestic dogs are the main vertebrate hosts, many wild carnivores have been considered playing a role in the spreading of VL. Sporadic numbers of dog and human VL have been reported in Golestan Province in North Iran. The present study was performed to detect the L. infantum DNA in wild carnivores. Forty road-killed carnivores including jackals (Canisaureus= 20), red fox (Vulpesvulpes= 3), wild cat (Felissilvestris= 4), jungle cat (Felischaus= 7), stone marten (Martesfonia= 2) and least weasel (Mustelanivalis= 4) were necropsied and tested for L. infantum using PCR. PCR testing was performed on the spleen tissue samples, targeting the minicircle of kinetoplast DNA (kDNA). None of the animals showed typical VL lesion at postmortem examination. Among forty carnivores, just 2 male jackals were detected positive by PCR. The kDNA positive jakals were found in the dry areas with lower rainfall comparing those were source of negative samples. Briefly, this study for the first time reports L. infantum infection occurrence in jackals in Golestan Province where VL is occurring as an emerging disease. The results support the possible active role of wild canids such as jackals in L. infantum life cycle. More studies on wild mammals’ population seem necessary for better understanding of their role in L.infantum disseminating.


Main Subjects