Leishmania infantum Infection in a Domestic Cat: A Real Threat or an Occasional Finding?

A Correction to this article was published on 11 February 2021

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Visceral Leishmaniasis (VL) has been considered one of the most important neglected zoonosis in the world. In Brazil, this disease passed for an urbanization process and currently pets (dogs and cats) animals have acquired a great importance on its epidemiology. Studies on dogs have been extensively performed throughout the country, but information about infection in cats has been concentrated in few areas. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate the occurrence of infection by Leishmania infantum in domestic cats living in endemic areas for Canine Visceral Leishmaniasis (CVL) in the state of Pernambuco, Northeastern Brazil.


Domiciled cats (n = 128) were sampled for different biological samples (i.e., blood, conjunctival swab and fine needle aspiration of lymph nodes) that were microscopically and molecularly analyzed through PCR and sequencing.


Amastigote forms of Leishmania sp. were detected in a single animal (fine needle aspiration of lymph node). This same animal scored positive at molecular examination (blood and lymph node) and the sequence analysis revealed an identity higher than 99% with L. infantum sequences DNA available in Genbank database.


This is the first molecular characterization of L. infantum infecting domestic cats in Pernambuco. Therefore, veterinary practitioners should consider this putative infection in cats living in areas where canine and human Leishmaniasis has been reported.

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Correspondence to Lais Kelly Amâncio Ribeiro Berenguer.

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Berenguer, L.K.A.R., Gomes, C.F.C.d.A., Nascimento, J.d.O. et al. Leishmania infantum Infection in a Domestic Cat: A Real Threat or an Occasional Finding?. Acta Parasit. (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11686-020-00294-z

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  • Feline leishmaniasis
  • Molecular diagnosis
  • Zoonosis