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J Infect Dis. 2003 Oct 1;188(7):1065-73. Epub 2003 Sep 22.

Outbreak of cutaneous leishmaniasis in northern Israel.

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Department of Parasitology, The Kuvin Center for Study of Infectious and Tropical Diseases, The Hebrew University Hadassah Medical School, Jerusalem, Israel.

Erratum in

  • J Infect Dis. 2003 Nov 1;188(9):1404.


This study describes a new focus of cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) due to Leishmania tropica, in the Galilee region of northern Israel. Thirty-three cases from 4 villages (northern part) and from the city of Tiberias (southern part) have been clinically diagnosed since 1996. Parasites from 13 patients and from 6 sand flies were characterized by isoenzyme electrophoresis, 2 immunological methods, and 3 polymerase chain reaction (PCR)-based methods. Isolates from the northern part were antigenically similar to Leishmania major and were different from other L. tropica isolates, including those from the southern part of the focus. They belonged to a newly reported zymodeme and were separable from all known Israeli L. tropica isolates, by use of 2 different PCR-based methods. Five (5.2%) of 97 Phlebotomus (Adlerius) arabicus and 2 (1.2%) of 162 Phlebotomus (Paraphlebotomus) sergenti females from the northern part of the focus were found to be infected with L. tropica. Three of 29 hyraxes (Procavia capensis) were positive for Leishmania ribosomal DNA. Thus, the northern part of this emerging focus of CL in Israel is distinct from all known L. tropica foci. P. arabicus is the main vector, and it transmits parasites that are different from other L. tropica isolates, with respect to antigenic, molecular, and biochemical parameters.

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