Parasitology Research

, Volume 112, Issue 7, pp 2453–2459 | Cite as

Detection of Leishmania infantum and identification of blood meals in Phlebotomus perniciosus from a focus of human leishmaniasis in Madrid, Spain

  • Maribel JiménezEmail author
  • Estela González
  • Andrés Iriso
  • Elisa Marco
  • Ana Alegret
  • Fernando Fúster
  • Ricardo MolinaEmail author
Original Paper


Since 2010, the number of cases of both human visceral leishmaniasis and cutaneous leishmaniasis in southwestern Madrid region (Spain) and more specifically in the town of Fuenlabrada has increased. Direct xenodiagnosis of leishmaniasis proved that hares (Lepus granatensis) from this focus are able to infect with Leishmania infantum colonized Phlebotomus perniciosus. To a better understanding of this focus of leishmaniasis, we conducted an entomological survey using CDC light traps, at the end of the seasonal transmission period of 2011 before the beginning of control measures of the disease, to study the phlebotomine sand flies species involved. Detection of Leishmania DNA in the sand flies captured was studied by kDNA-PCR and cpb-PCR. In addition, blood fed and gravid female P. perniciosus were analysed by a PCR based in vertebrate cytochrome b (cyt b) gene. Taxonomic identification of captured sand flies (n = 174) as P. perniciosus (n = 171) and Sergentomyia minuta (n = 3) together with the analysis of blood feeding in ten sand flies that shows a high preference for hares (n = 6), followed by humans (n = 3), and cats (n = 1) confirm a strong association between P. perniciosus hares and humans in the focus. Moreover, 79 out of 135 (58.5 %) P. perniciosus were positive to L. infantum by PCR approaches. These data support the increase of human leishmaniasis cases in the area and the existence of an unusual sylvatic cycle alternative to the classical domestic one, where the dog is the main reservoir of L. infantum.


Visceral Leishmaniasis Leishmaniasis Blood Meal Cutaneous Leishmaniasis Entomological Survey 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



We would like to thank Ángeles Vázquez and Ana Tello from the Departamento de Zoología y Antropología Física, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Universidad Complutense, Madrid, Spain for their support. The authors are grateful to the Fuenlabrada and Leganés Councils. This study was partially sponsored and funded by the Subdirección General de Sanidad Ambiental y Epidemiología, the Dirección General de Ordenación e Inspección de la Consejería de Sanidad (CM), the Colegio de Veterinarios de Madrid, and the Colegio de Biólogos de Madrid. This study also was partially funded by EU grant GOCE-2003-010284 EDENext and is cataloged by the EDENext Steering Committee as EDENext 092 ( The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of the authors and don’t necessarily reflect the views of the European Commission.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maribel Jiménez
    • 1
    Email author
  • Estela González
    • 1
  • Andrés Iriso
    • 2
  • Elisa Marco
    • 3
  • Ana Alegret
    • 3
  • Fernando Fúster
    • 2
  • Ricardo Molina
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Unidad de Entomología Médica, Servicio de Parasitología, Centro Nacional de MicrobiologíaInstituto de Salud Carlos IIIMadridSpain
  2. 2.Subdirección General de Sanidad Ambiental y Epidemiología, Dirección General de Ordenación e Inspección, Consejería de Sanidad, Comunidad de MadridMadridSpain
  3. 3.Concejalía de Salud, Consumo y Cooperación, Ayuntamiento de FuenlabradaMadridSpain

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