Spatial and seroepidemiology of canine visceral leishmaniasis in an endemic Southeast Brazilian area
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Introduction: Canine visceral leishmaniasis (CVL) is a public health problem, and its prevalence is associated with the coexistence of vectors and reservoirs. CVL is a protozoonosis caused by Leishmania infantum that is endemic in the southeast region of Brazil. Thus, vector and canine reservoir control strategies are needed to reduce its burden. This study aimed to verify the CVL seroprevalence and epidemiology in a municipality in Southeast Brazil to initiate disease control strategies. Methods: A total of 833 dogs were subjected to Dual Path Platform (DPP) testing and enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays. For seropositive dogs, epidemiological aspects were investigated using a questionnaire and a global position system. The data were submitted to simple logistic regression, kernel estimation, and Bernoulli spatial scan statistical analysis. Results: The overall CVL-confirmed seroprevalence was 16.08%. The 28.93% in the DPP screening test was associated with dogs maintained in backyards with trees, shade, animal and/or bird feces, and contact with other dogs and cats, with sick dogs showing the highest chances of infection (odds ratio, 2.6; 95% confidence interval, 2.38-1.98), especially in residences with elderly people. A spatial analysis identified two hotspot regions and detected two clusters in the study area. Conclusions: Our results demonstrated that residences with elderly people and the presence of trees, shade, feces, and pet dogs and cats increased an individual's risk of developing CVL. The major regions where preventive strategies for leishmaniasis were to be initiated in the endemic area were identified in two clusters.
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