Sandflies and leishmaniasis in Germany
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- Naucke, T.J., Menn, B., Massberg, D. et al. Parasitol Res (2008) 103(Suppl 1): 65. doi:10.1007/s00436-008-1052-y
This study has provided evidence for the natural occurrence of sandflies in Germany. Two species belonging to the genus Phlebotomus were detected. Phlebotomus (Larroussius) perniciosus, a proven vector of leishmaniasis, was found in association with an autochthonous case of canine leishmaniasis near Kaiserslautern. Two hundred thirty-seven specimens of Phlebotomus (Transphlebotomus) mascittii were caught in 17 different locations in Baden-Wuerttemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate. The northernmost finding in Germany (and Europe) was near Cochem (Moselle). P. mascittii has not yet been confirmed as a vector of leishmaniasis, but its competence is strongly suspected. In addition to the detection of the vector, since 1991, there have been 11 cases of leishmaniasis in Germany in which an autochthonous origin was confirmed or which were highly likely to have been of indigenous origin. Data from the German meteorological service indicate that Germany currently has a Mediterranean climate, with an annual average temperature of 10°C being reached or exceeded in several regions. This type of climate is also appropriate for the living conditions of sandflies. Therefore, it is assumed that sandflies have a greater geographical distribution in Germany than the first studies suggested, being mainly restricted to the southern region of Baden-Wuerttemberg. The risk of an autochthonous canine infection occurring in Germany is very low. The rapidly increasing number of imported cases of leishmaniasis in dogs means that special attention must be focused on veterinary advice to dog owners about prophylaxis. The results indicate that the use of repellents and preventive behavioural measures is vital.