Currently no information is available regarding arthropod-borne parasites in Albania and the Kosovo, especially the zoonotic protozoan Leishmania infantum. Presumably autochtonous cases of human leishmaniosis have been described for some areas (Kosovo: Ferizaj, Gjakovo, Pec, Malisevo; Albania: Tirana, Durres, Elbasan, Shkodra, Vlore).
Materials and Methods: In order to investigate the infection status of dogs of different origin sera from 272 animals (151 from Albania - Tirana, Kamza and Durres; 121 from the Kosovo - Gjakovo, Ferizaj and Prishtina) were obtained. Corresponding blood samples were available from 36 Albanian stray dogs. Antibody titres were determined by Indirect Immunofluorescence Test against L. infantum and Babesia canis. Antigens of Dirofilaria immitis were determined using the DiroCheck®-Test. Blood samples were tested for L. infantum, B. canis, Hepatozoon canis, D.
immitis and Dirofilaria repens by polymerase chain reaction (PCR).
Results: Specific antibodies against Babesia were found in 7.3 % of the animals, against Leishmania in 3.3 % and 7.0 % were positive for D.
immitis antigen. DNA of Babesia, Leishmania or D. repens was detected in 11.1 %, respectively. H. canis was found in 52.8 % of the blood samples.
D. immitis DNA was not detected.
Discussion: Since the Babesia- and Leishmania-PCR-positive animals were all serologically negative it can be assumed that infections were acquired only recently. All Leishmania-positive animals were stray dogs.
These animals contribute to the maintenance of Leishmania transmission in endemic areas, and a control of the canine stray population should be considered.
Arthropod-borne / parasites / dogs / Kosovo / Albania