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Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2006 Jun;100(6):521-6. Epub 2005 Dec 13.

Occurrence of Leishmania infantum cutaneous leishmaniasis in central Tunisia.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Parasitologie, Faculté de Médecine, Sousse, Tunisia.


Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) due to Leishmania infantum occurs sporadically in Tunisia where its distribution is confined to the northern parts of the country. However, during the past decade there have been occasional repeated reports of cases from areas in central Tunisia, known to be free of CL. Epidemiological, clinical and parasitological data regarding these patients were collected and analysed. Data were very suggestive of the sporadic form of CL due to L. infantum. The parasites contained within the lesions of some of the patients were characterised by two different previously described PCR assays, each having different resolutive powers. The first assay, which amplified complete kDNA minicircles, showed a fragment size characteristic of the L. donovani complex; whilst the second consisted of a PCR-RFLP analysis targeting the gp63 coding sequences that confirmed assignment of the parasites to L. infantum species while illustrating its differences from the reference isolate. These findings confirm the aetiology of CL in the concerned areas in central Tunisia and suggest that L. infantum CL might be more prevalent and widespread than previously thought, or possibly emerging in these areas.

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