- Autores: Katrin Kuhls, Olga Moskalenko, Anna Sukiasyan, Dezdemonia Manukyan, Gayane Melik-Andreasyan, Liana Atshemyan, Hripsime Apresyan, Margarita Strelkova, Anja Jaeschke, Ralf Wieland, Marcus Frohme, Sofia Cortes, Ara Keshishyan
- Ano de Publicação: 2021
- Journal: Plos Neglected Tropical Diseases, 15(4), art e0009288
- Link: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0009288
Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is re-emerging in Armenia since 1999 with 167 cases recorded until 2019. The objectives of this study were (i) to determine for the first time the genetic diversity and population structure of the causative agent of VL in Armenia; (ii) to compare these genotypes with those from most endemic regions worldwide; (iii) to monitor the diversity of vectors in Armenia; (iv) to predict the distribution of the vectors and VL in time and space by ecological niche modeling.
Human samples from different parts of Armenia previously identified by ITS-1-RFLP as L. infantum were studied by Multilocus Microsatellite Typing (MLMT). These data were combined with previously typed L. infantum strains from the main global endemic regions for population structure analysis. Within the 23 Armenian L. infantum strains 22 different genotypes were identified. The combined analysis revealed that all strains belong to the worldwide predominating MON1-population, however most closely related to a subpopulation from Southeastern Europe, Maghreb, Middle East and Central Asia. The three observed Armenian clusters grouped within this subpopulation with strains from Greece/Turkey, and from Central Asia, respectively. Ecological niche modeling based on VL cases and collected proven vectors (P. balcanicus, P. kandelakii) identified Yerevan and districts Lori, Tavush, Syunik, Armavir, Ararat bordering Georgia, Turkey, Iran and Azerbaijan as most suitable for the vectors and with the highest risk for VL transmission. Due to climate change the suitable habitat for VL transmission will expand in future all over Armenia.
Genetic diversity and population structure of the causative agent of VL in Armenia were addressed for the first time. Further genotyping studies should be performed with samples from infected humans, animals and sand flies from all active foci including the neighboring countries to understand transmission cycles, re-emergence, spread, and epidemiology of VL in Armenia and the entire Transcaucasus enabling epidemiological monitoring.
Leishmaniasis is a vector-borne disease caused by protozoan parasites of the genus Leishmania. In Armenia visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is re-emerging since 1999 after a long break of 30 years, with 167 cases recorded until 2019. Molecular diagnosis of VL was implemented only in 2016, and the causative agent was identified as L. infantum. In the present study we expanded the investigation of the causative agent to a characterization at strain level and the identification of its phylogenetic position among the L. infantum genotypes circulating worldwide. This is the first study addressing genetic diversity and population structure of L. infantum in Armenia and in Transcaucasia. Armenia is an extremely interesting region due to its bio-geographic specificities e.g. the high number of different climates in this small mountainous country and the observed high diversity of sand fly species, part of which occurring in very high altitudes. Ecological niche modeling based on registered VL cases and sand fly vectors collected in active VL foci revealed that the risk of further spread of VL is very high due to climate change. Studies of this region should be expanded to enable targeted control measures.
Armenia; Leishmaniasis; Leishmania infantum; Microsatellite; Sand flies.