Epidemiological Aspects of Visceral Leishmaniasis in Baft District, Kerman Province, Southeast of Iran
Background: Visceral leishmaniasis (kala-azar) is an endemic disease in some areas of Iran. A cross- sectional study was conducted for sero-epidemiological survey of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) in Baft district from Kerman Province, southeast of Iran. Methods: Blood samples were collected from children up to 12 years old and 10% of adult population from Baft villages with a multi-stage randomized cluster sampling. In addition, blood samples were collected from 30 domestic dogs from the same areas. All the collected blood samples were tested by direct agglutination test (DAT) for the detection of anti-Leishmania antibodies in both human and dog using the cut-off value of >= 1:3200 and >= 1:320, respectively. Parasitological, molecular, and pathological were performed on infected dogs. Chi-square and Fisher exact tests were used to compare sero-prevalence values. Results: From 1476 collected human serum samples, 23 (1.55%) showed anti-Leishmania antibodies at titers of 1:800 and 1:1600 whereas 14 (0.95%) showed anti-Leishmania infantum antibodies at titers of >= 1:3200. No statistically significant difference was found between male (1.18 %) and female (0.69%) sero-prevalence (P=0.330). Children of 5-8 years showed the highest sero-prevalence rate (3.22%). Seven out of 30 domestic dogs (23%) showed anti-Leishmania antibodies at titers >= 1:320. Leishmania infantum was identified in five infected dogs by nested-PCR assay. Conclusion: It seems that visceral leishmaniasis is being endemic in southern villages of Baft district, southeast of Iran.