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BioMed Research International
Volume 2014, Article ID 318254, 5 pages
Research Article

Evidence of Leishmania infantum Infection in Rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) in a Natural Area in Madrid, Spain

1Centro de Vigilancia Sanitaria Veterinaria (VISAVET), Universidad Complutense, 28040 Madrid, Spain
2Departamento de Inmunología, Instituto de Salud Carlos III, Majadahonda, 28220 Madrid, Spain
3Instituto Ramón y Cajal de Investigación Sanitaria (IRYCIS), Ctra. Colmenar Viejo, Km. 9.100, 28034 Madrid, Spain
4Departamento de Medicina y Cirugía Animal, Facultad de Veterinaria, Universidad Complutense, 28040 Madrid, Spain
5Madrid Salud, Ayuntamiento de Madrid, 28007 Madrid, Spain

Received 17 October 2013; Revised 22 January 2014; Accepted 24 January 2014; Published 3 March 2014

Academic Editor: Douwe Bakker

Copyright © 2014 Nerea García et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Leishmaniasis is one of the most important neglected zoonosis and remains endemic in at least 88 developing countries in the world. In addition, anthropogenic environmental changes in urban areas are leading to its emergency world wide. Zoonotic leishmaniasis control might only be achieved by an integrated approach targeting both the human host and the animal reservoirs, which in certain sylvatic cycles are yet to be identified. Recently, hares have been pointed out as competent reservoirs of Leishmania infantum in Spain, but the role of other lagomorphs has not been clarified. Here, 69 rabbits (Oryctolagus cuniculus) from a natural area in Madrid in which a high density was present were analyzed using indirect (immunofluorescence antibody test, IFAT) and direct (PCR, culture) techniques. Fifty-seven (82.6%) of the animals were positive to at least one technique, with IFAT yielding the highest proportion of positive samples. L. infantum was isolated in 13% animals demonstrating the occurrence of infection in this setting. Our results suggest that rabbits could play a role of competent reservoir of L. infantum and demonstrate that the prevalence of infection is high in the analyzed area.