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Vet Parasitol. 2009 Dec 3;166(1-2):159-62. doi: 10.1016/j.vetpar.2009.08.011. Epub 2009 Aug 15.

First report of vertical transmission of Leishmania (Leishmania) infantum in a naturally infected bitch from Brazil.

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Departamento de Parasitologia, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, 31270-901 Belo Horizonte, MG, Brazil.


Dogs are the most important reservoir of Leishmania (L.) infantum, the causal agent of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) in Brazil. Vectorial infection is the main route of transmission of the parasites. This paper reports the first case of vertical transmission of L. infantum in Brazil, confirmed by PCR and immunohistochemistry techniques in samples from spleen and liver of two stillborn pups from a bitch naturally infected with L. infantum in Belo Horizonte city, endemic area of VL. This result confirms the existence of transplacental transmission of Leishmania between dogs, and suggests the need for further studies to determine the rate of occurrence of this fact in endemic areas and what is their role in the epidemiology of the disease.

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