Background Leishmaniasis is one of the most important vector-borne diseases and it represents a seri-ous world health problem affecting millions of people. High levels of Leishmania infections, affecting both humans and animals, are recognized among Italian regions. Among these, Sicily has one of the highest prevalence of Leishmania infection. Methodology/Principal Findings Seventy-eight Leishmania strains isolated from human and animal samples across Sicily, were analyzed for the polymorphic k26-gene and genotypes were assigned according to the size of the PCR products. A multilocus microsatellite typing (MLMT) approach based on the analysis of 11 independent loci was used to investigate populations structure and genetic diversity of the isolated strains. Six L. infantum reference strains were included in the analysis for comparison. Bayesian clustering analysis of microsatellite data showed that all the isolated strains clustered in two genetically distinct populations, corresponding to human and canine isolates respectively. A further subdivision was observed between the two main groups, giving a good correlation between human strains and their geographic origin, conversely canine population showed a great genetic variability diffused in the territory. Conclusions/Significance Among the 78 Leishmania isolates, K26 analysis detected 71 samples (91%) as MON-1 zymodeme, confirming it as the predominant strain in Mediterranean area and 7 human samples (9%) as non-MON-1. MLMT gives important insights into the epidemiology of leish-maniases and allows characterization of different strains to a higher resolution than possible with zymodeme typing. Two main populations presented a strong correlation respect to the different hosts, exhibiting a co-circulation of two distinct populations of L. infantum. The population found in infected humans exhibited a correlation with geographic origin. These clusters could represent a geographically restricted population of strains with the same or related genotypes. This study can contribute to an understanding of Leishmania epidemiol-ogy, including the spread of reservoirs and sand fly vectors in the different foci of infection, characterizing parasites within the different hosts.
|Numero di pagine||16|
|Rivista||PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Published - 2020|
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