Leishmaniases in Greece

During the last 35 years, visceral leishmaniasis has spread in Greece with autochthonous human cases appearing in 41 of the 54 prefectures. The occurrence of the disease was mapped and related to dog seropositivity, environmental and geospatial risk factors. Average dog seropositivity was 22.1% and positive animals were found in 43 of 54 prefectures. Factors like: altitude, presence of water bodies, land use, wind speed, mean land surface temperature, mean relative humidity, and mean annual rainfall were found to affect dog seropositivity. Cases of cutaneous leishmaniasis, caused by Leishmania tropica are also increasing. Phlebotomus similis believed to be the potential vector of L. tropica in Greece, was found in areas where the disease is widespread but also where cases have never been reported implying a danger of introduction of this anthroponotic parasite to new regions.

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