Visceral Leishmaniasis (VL) is a protozoan zoonotic disease generally transmitted in the Americas by female sandflies of genus Lutzomyia which are infected by Leishmania infantum chagasi during blood feeding. Although dogs are well established as the main reservoirs for the disease in urban areas several recent reports of cats naturally infected worldwide may indicate a more important role of this species in the disease cycle. Since the detection of circulating antibodies in infected cats is difficult, and infected cats in endemic areas are reportedly less likely to develop clinical signs when compared to dogs, cellular immunity in cats may be more effective than in dogs to control the disease. This study aims to monitor cats residing in endemic areas by means of parasitological and serological evaluation, RT-PCR and leishmanin skin test (LST), in order to use the later test to identify infected cats that did not develop antibody titers or clinical signs of the disease. For this, 150 adult cats, regardless of sex, symptomatic or not, from Araçatuba, São Paulo, an endemic area for visceral leishmaniasis, will be used. All cats will undergo a general clinical examination, followed by diagnosis of VL based on the direct observation of Leishmania spp. amastigote forms in bone marrow and lymph nodes, serology by ELISA and IFAT , blood and lymphoid organs RT-PCR as well as leishmanin skin test.
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