Original Research

Risk of establishment of canine leishmaniasis infection through the import of dogs into South Africa

Abdalla A. Latif, Bonginkosi Nkabinde, Brian Peba, Olivier Matthee, Ronel Pienaar, Antoinette Josemans, Daniel Marumo, Karien Labuschagne, Nada A. Abdelatief, Andreas Krüger, Ben J. Mans
Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research | Vol 86, No 1 | a1634 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ojvr.v86i1.1634 | © 2019 Abdalla A. Latif, Bonginkosi Nkabinde, Brian Peba, Olivier Matthee, Ronel Pienaar, Antoinette Josemans, Daniel Marumo, Karien Labuschagne, Nada A. Abdelatif, Andreas Krüger, Ben J. Mans | This work is licensed under CC Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0
Submitted: 16 March 2018 | Published: 28 May 2019

About the author(s)

Abdalla A. Latif, School of Life Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Bonginkosi Nkabinde, Epidemiology, Parasites and Vectors, Agricultural Research Council-Onderstepoort Veterinary Research, Pretoria, South Africa
Brian Peba, Epidemiology, Parasites and Vectors, Agricultural Research Council-Onderstepoort Veterinary Research, Pretoria, South Africa
Olivier Matthee, Epidemiology, Parasites and Vectors, Agricultural Research Council-Onderstepoort Veterinary Research, Pretoria, South Africa
Ronel Pienaar, Epidemiology, Parasites and Vectors, Agricultural Research Council-Onderstepoort Veterinary Research, Pretoria, South Africa
Antoinette Josemans, Epidemiology, Parasites and Vectors, Agricultural Research Council-Onderstepoort Veterinary Research, Pretoria, South Africa
Daniel Marumo, Epidemiology, Parasites and Vectors, Agricultural Research Council-Onderstepoort Veterinary Research, Pretoria, South Africa
Karien Labuschagne, Epidemiology, Parasites and Vectors, Agricultural Research Council-Onderstepoort Veterinary Research, Pretoria, South Africa
Nada A. Abdelatief, Medical Research Council, Durban, South Africa
Andreas Krüger, Department of Tropical Medicine, Bundeswehr Hospital, Hamburg, Germany
Ben J. Mans, Epidemiology, Parasites and Vectors, Agricultural Research Council-Onderstepoort Veterinary Research, Pretoria, South Africa; and, Department of Life and Consumer Sciences, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, University of South Africa, Johannesburg, South Africa; and, Department of Tropical Veterinary Diseases, Faculty of Veterinary Sciences, University of Pretoria, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Canine leishmaniasis is a vector-borne disease caused by protozoa of the genus Leishmania that affect dogs, humans and wildlife. Sandflies of the genera Phlebotomus and Lutzomyia are the primary vectors. Canine leishmaniasis is an exotic and controlled disease in South Africa. The main purpose of our risk assessment study was to evaluate the likelihood that this exotic disease could enter and be established in South Africa through importation of live dogs. Risk analysis to the spread of the disease follows the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE) formal method of quantitative risk assessment documented as a step-by-step process. We have identified and discussed 11 possible risk factors involved in three steps for final assessment. The annual average number of diagnostic tests performed on imported dogs from 44 countries for 2011–2015 was 1158. Leishmania is reported to occur in 21/44 (47.7%) exporting countries. A total of 71.1% of Leishmania positive dogs were imported from these endemic countries. The yearly percentage of Leishmania positive dogs ranged from 0.2% to 2%. Three confirmed clinical and fatal cases of leishmaniasis in dogs of unidentified origin have been reported by our laboratory and the state veterinarians. The disease has been reported in neighbouring countries as well as the putative sandfly vectors. This study concluded that the risk for the introduction and degree of uncertainty of Leishmania in imported dogs in South Africa are moderate. Risk mitigation and recommendations such as investigations into possible occurrence of autochthonous leishmaniasis in the country, surveillance in its wildlife reservoirs and systematic surveillance of sandfly populations are discussed.

Keywords

canine leishmaniasis; risk assessment; Phlebotominae; ticks; South Africa

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