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Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Infectious Diseases
Volume 2009, Article ID 802712, 5 pages
Review Article

New Means of Canine Leishmaniasis Transmission in North America: The Possibility of Transmission to Humans Still Unknown

2764 Veterinary Medicine, Department of Veterinary Pathology, Iowa State University, Ames, IA 50011, USA

Received 6 March 2009; Accepted 27 April 2009

Academic Editor: Herbert B. Tanowitz

Copyright © 2009 Christine A. Petersen. 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.


At present it is not possible to determine in advance the outcome of Leishmania infantum infection. Canine Visceral Leishmaniasis (VL), caused by Le. infantum, is a natural disease process which offers a insight into the interaction of the host and resultant disease outcome. Canine VL results in the same altered pathophysiology and immunodysregulation seen in humans. VL in US dogs is likely to be transmitted primarily via nontraditional, nonvector means. VL mediated by Le. infantum is endemic in U.S. Foxhound dogs, with vertical transmission likely to be the novel primary means of transmission. This population of dogs offers an opportunity to identify host factors of natural disease. Prevention of human clinical visceral leishmaniasis can occur only by better understanding the disease ecology of the primary reservoir host: the dog.