The Use of Spatial Analysis to Estimate the Prevalence of Canine Leishmaniasis in Greece and Cyprus to Predict Its Future Variation and Relate It to Human Disease

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Climatic, environmental, and demographic changes favor the emergence of neglected vector-borne diseases like leishmaniasis, which is spreading through dogs, the principle host of the protozoan Leishmania infantum. Surveillance of the disease in dogs is important, because the number of infected animals in an area determines the local risk of human infection. However, dog epidemiological studies are costly. Our aim was to evaluate the Emerging Diseases in a Changing European Environment (EDEN) veterinary questionnaire as a cost-effective tool in providing reliable, spatially explicit indicators of canine leishmaniasis prevalence. For this purpose, the data from the questionnaire were compared with data from two epidemiological studies on leishmaniasis carried out in Greece and Cyprus at the same time using statistical methods and spatial statistics. Although the questionnaire data cannot provide a quantitative measure of leishmaniasis in an area, it indicates the dynamic of the disease; information is obtained in a short period of time at low cost.

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