Zoonotic visceral leishmaniasis (ZVL) is a parasitic disease affecting dogs and humans, which is transmitted by female sandflies. Over the last decade, disease prevalence has increased fivefold in parts of southern Europe, where an estimated 2.5 million dogs are infected. This increase is mainly due to an expansion in sandfly distribution due to climate change and to the greater numbers of dogs travelling among European countries. To combat the spread of ZVL in Europe, international guidelines have been drawn up that describe strategies to prevent, control and monitor the disease. To investigate whether these strategies are being implemented in the field, we conducted an online survey among veterinarians in Spain (endemic for ZVL) and France (south: emerging; north: non-endemic). Of the 889 respondents, 459 veterinarians completed all questions. Although 60% of all veterinarians were aware of the current ZVL increase in Europe, 70% were not familiar with any guidelines for controlling the disease. Most of their preventive and treatment actions were, however, in line with intervention strategies recommended by the guidelines. From the veterinarians in this survey, 76% had received no reports regarding confirmed cases of canine leishmaniosis (CanL) or human visceral leishmaniasis in their region or country. The fact that 88% of confirmed cases of clinical CanL were not reported suggests inadequate disease monitoring and evaluation. We therefore recommend that an easy-to-use and accessible international online network be developed, where both veterinarians and physicians can report confirmed cases of leishmaniosis in dogs and humans. This is crucial for monitoring, controlling and preventing the further spread of ZVL in Europe at regional, national and international level.

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doi.org/10.1016/j.vetpar.2018.01.013, hdl.handle.net/1765/104956
Veterinary Parasitology
Department of Public Health

le Rutte, E., van Straten, R. (Roosmarijn), & Overgaauw, P.A.M. (Paul A.M.). (2018). Awareness and control of canine leishmaniosis: A survey among Spanish and French veterinarians. Veterinary Parasitology, 253, 87–93. doi:10.1016/j.vetpar.2018.01.013