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Trop Med Int Health. 2009 Sep;14(9):1071-85. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3156.2009.02336.x. Epub 2009 Jul 14.

Geographical distribution and epidemiological features of Old World cutaneous leishmaniasis foci, based on the isoenzyme analysis of 1048 strains.

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Université Montpellier 1, Centre National de Référence des Leishmania, Génétique et Evolution des Maladies Infectieuses, Laboratoire de Parasitologie-Mycologie, CHU de Montpellier, France.


A series of 1048 Leishmania strains from Old World cutaneous leishmaniasis foci, isolated between 1981 and 2005, were studied by isoenzyme analysis. The strains were obtained from humans, rodents, dogs and sandflies from 33 countries. The four typically dermotropic species, Leishmania major, L. tropica, L. aethiopica and L. killicki, were found. The viscerotropic species L. donovani and L. infantum, which can occasionally be responsible for cutaneous leishmaniasis, are not considered in this paper. Leishmania major was the least polymorphic species (12 zymodemes, 638 strains). Leishmania tropica was characterized by a complex polymorphism varying according to focus (35 zymodemes, 329 strains). Leishmania aethiopica, a species restricted to East Africa, showed a high polymorphism, in spite of a limited number of strains (23 zymodemes, 40 strains). Leishmania killicki, mainly restricted to Tunisia had a single zymodeme for 39 strains. Recently a parasite close to L. killicki (one zymodeme, two strains) was isolated in Algeria, which lead us to revise the taxonomic status of this taxon.

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