Parasitology Research

, Volume 117, Issue 4, pp 1237–1244 | Cite as

Asymptomatic carriers of Leishmania infantum in patients infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in Morocco

  • M. Echchakery
  • J. Nieto
  • S. Boussaa
  • N. El Fajali
  • S. Ortega
  • K. Souhail
  • H. Aajly
  • C. Chicharro
  • E. Carrillo
  • J. Moreno
  • A. Boumezzough
Original Paper


In Morocco, visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is a parasitic disease caused by the flagellated protozoan parasite Leishmania infantum. L. infantum is transmitted by the bite of female phlebotomine sandflies, and its main reservoir hosts are domestic dogs. Asymptomatic infection with L. infantum is more frequent than clinically apparent disease. In HIV-infected patients, the risk of clinical VL is increased due to immunosuppression that may reactivate latent infections. However, coinfected subjects do not necessarily develop VL and may remain as asymptomatic carriers depending on their immune status. The present study investigates the asymptomatic carriers of L. infantum in HIV-infected patients in central Morocco, where human cases of visceral leishmaniasis by L. infantum have been reported. A total of 200 HIV-infected patients attending the Infectious Diseases Unit of the Ibn Zohar Hospital of Marrakech participated in the study. Parasitological and serological blood analyses included a direct microscopic examination (DME), culture in Novy-McNeal-Nicolle (NNN) medium, and serology by indirect immunofluorescence (IFI). We found prevalence rates of 5% (10/200) by IFI, 3% (6/200) by DME, and 2.5% (5/200) by culture. The parasite was identified as L. infantum by PCR from positive cultures.


Leishmania infantum HIV IFI PCR Coinfection Morocco 



The authors are very grateful to Dr. Kamhawi Shaden for the critical review of the paper and kind assistance.

Compliance with ethical standards

This study was approved by the Hospital-University Ethics Committee under protocol number 020/2016. Authorization to examine files, interview, and take blood samples from HIV-infected patients was obtained from the Regional Health Directorate. A consent form was explained to and signed by all the participants.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratory of Medical AnalysisIbn Zohr Regional Hospital CenterMarrakechMorocco
  2. 2.Ecology and the Environment Laboratory L2E (URAC 32, CNRST ERACNERS 06), Faculty of Sciences SemlaliaCadi Ayyad UniversityMarrakechMorocco
  3. 3.WHO Collaborating Centre for Leishmaniasis, Parasitology ServiceNational Center of Microbiology Institute of Health Carlos IIIMadridSpain
  4. 4.ISPITS-Higher Institute of Nursing and Health TechnologyMarrakechMorocco
  5. 5.Department of Infectious Diseases, Ibn Zohr Regional Hospital CenterMarrakechMorocco

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