Original Article

Seroepidemiological survey of Visceral leishmaniasis among nomadic tribes of Kerman Province, Southeastern Iran: An observational study for implication to health policy


Background & Aim: Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) or kala-azar is a parasitic disease caused by the species of Leishmania donovani complex. Mediterranean type of disease is endemic in some parts of Iran and more than 95% of seropositivity cases were reported in children up to 12 years of age. A cross-sectional study was conducted to determine the seroprevalence of VL in nomadic tribe’s population of the Kerman Province.
Methods & Materials: Totally, 862 blood samples were collected from children up to 12 years old from nomadic tribes of the studied area. Before sampling, a questionnaire  was filled out for each case.  All  the  collected  blood  samples were  examined  after  the  plasma  separating  by  direct agglutination test for detection of anti-Leishmania infantum antibodies. The cut-off titer of ≥ 1:3200 with specific clinical features was considered as VL.
Results: Altogether, 25 (2.6%) of the collected plasma samples showed anti-Leishmania antibodies at titers ≥ 1:800 and 6 of them (0.6%) showed titers ≥ 1:3200 with mild clinical manifestations. None of the seropositive  cases had a history of kala-azar.  Children  of 5-8 years old showed the highest seroprevalence rate (4.1%). Also, there were not any significant differences between the rate of seropositivity in males (0.58%) and females (0.67%), (P = 0.225).
Conclusion: Although the seroprevalence of VL is relatively low in children up to 12 years old from nomadic tribes of the studied area, due to the importance  of the disease, the surveillance  system should be monitored by health authorities.

Mohebali M. Visceral leishmaniasis in Iran: review of the epidemiological and clinical features. Iran J Parasitol 2013; 8(3): 348-58.

Werneck GL. Visceral leishmaniasis in Brazil: rationale and concerns related to reservoir control. Rev Saude Publica 2014;48(5): 851-6.

Alvar J, Velez ID, Bern C, Herrero M, Desjeux P, Cano J, et al. Leishmaniasis worldwide and global estimates of its incidence. PLoS One 2012; 7(5): e35671.

Ready PD. Epidemiology of visceral leishmaniasis. Clin Epidemiol 2014; 6:147-54.

Mahmoudvand H, Mohebali M, Sharifi I, Keshavarz H, Hajjaran H, Akhoundi B, et al. Epidemiological aspects of visceral leishmaniasis in Baft district, Kerman Province, Southeast of Iran. Iran J Parasitol 2011; 6(1): 1-11.

Cavalcante IJ, Vale MR. Epidemiological aspects of visceral leishmaniasis (Kala- Azar) in Ceara in the period 2007 to 2011. Rev Bras Epidemiol 2014; 17(4): 911-24.

Elmahallawy EK, Sampedro MA, Rodriguez-Granger J, Hoyos-Mallecot Y, Agil A, Navarro Mari JM, et al. Diagnosis of leishmaniasis. J Infect Dev Ctries 2014;8(8): 961-72.

Mohebali M, Edrissian GH, Nadim A, Hajjaran H, Akhoundi B, Hooshmand B, et al. Application of Direct Agglutination Test (DAT) for the diagnosis and seroepidemiological studies of visceral leishmaniasis in Iran. Iran J Parasitol 2006;1(1): 15-25.

Barati M, Daie Parizi MH, Sharifi I.Epidemiological and clinical aspects of Kala-Azar in hospitalized children of Kerman province, during 1991-2006. J Kerman Univ Med Sci 2008; 15(2): 148-55. [In Persian].

Nik-Nafs P, Daie Parizi MH, Ahmadi A.Report of 40 cases of Kala-Azar from Kerman province. J Kerman Univ Med Sci 1994; 1(1): 30-7. [In Persian].

el Harith A, Kolk AH, Leeuwenburg J, Muigai R, Huigen E, Jelsma T, et al. Improvement of a direct agglutination test for field studies of visceral leishmaniasis. J Clin Microbiol 1988; 26(7): 1321-5.

Zijlstra EE, Ali MS, el-Hassan AM, el- Toum IA, Satti M, Ghalib HW, et al. Direct agglutination test for diagnosis and sero- epidemiological survey of Kala-Azar in the Sudan. Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg 1991;85(4): 474-6.

Mohebali M, Hajjaran H, Hamzavi Y, Mobedi I, Arshi S, Zarei Z, et al. Epidemiological aspects of canine visceral leishmaniosis in the Islamic Republic of Iran. Vet Parasitol 2005; 129(3-4): 243-51.

Silva ES, Schoone GJ, Gontijo CM, Brazil RP, Pacheco RS, Schallig HD. Application of direct agglutination test (DAT) and fast agglutination screening test (FAST) for sero-diagnosis of visceral leishmaniasis in endemic area of Minas Gerais, Brazil. Kinetoplastid Biol Dis 2005; 4: 4.

Schallig HD, Schoone GJ, Kroon CC, Hailu A, Chappuis F, Veeken H. Development and application of 'simple' diagnostic tools for visceral leishmaniasis. Med Microbiol Immunol 2001; 190(1-2): 69-71.

el Harith A, Slappendel RJ, Reiter I, van Knapen F, de Korte P, Huigen E, et al. Application of a direct agglutination test for detection of specific anti-leishmania antibodies in the canine reservoir. J Clin Microbiol 1989; 27(10): 2252-7.

Mohebali M, Edrissian GH, Shirzadi MR, Akhoundi B, Hajjaran H, Zarei Z, et al. An observational study on the current distribution of visceral leishmaniasis in different geographical zones of Iran and implication to health policy. Travel Med Infect Dis 2011; 9(2): 67-74.

Moshfe A, Mohebali M, Edrissian GH, Zarei Z, Akhoundi B, Kazemi B, et al. Seroepidemiological study on canine visceral leishmaniasis in Meshkin-Shahr district, Ardabil province, northwest of Iran during 2006-2007. Iran J Parasitol 2008;3(3): 1-10.

Edrissian GH, Ahanchin AR, Gharachahi AM, Ghorbani M, Nadim A, Ardehali S, et al. seroepidemiological studies of visceral leishmaniasis and search for animal reservoirs in Fars province, southern Iran. Iran J Med Sci 1993; 18: 99-105. [In Persian].

Torabi V, Mohebali M, Edrissian GH, Keshavarz H, Mohajeri M, Hajjaran H, et al. Seroepidemiological survey of visceral leishmaniasis by direct agglutination test in Bojnoord district, north Khorasan province in 2007. Iran J Epidemiol 2008; 4(3-4): 43-50. [In Persian].

Edrissian GH, Hafizi A, Afshar A, Soleiman-Zadeh G, Movahed-Danesh AM, Garoussi A. An endemic focus of visceral leishmaniasis in Meshkin-Shahr, east Azerbaijan province, north-west part of Iran and IFA serological survey of the disease in this area. Bull Soc Pathol Exot Filiales 1988;81(2): 238-48.

Asgari Q, Fakhar M, Motazedian H.Nomadic Kala-Azar in south of Iran. Iran J Public Health 2006; 35(3): 85-6.

Fakhar M, Mohebali M, Barani M.Identification of endemic focus of Kala-Azar and seroepidemiological study of visceral leishmaniasis infection in human and canine in Qom province, Iran. Armaghane-danesh 20004; 9(1): 43-52. [In Persian].

Mohebali M, Hamzavi Y, Mohebali M.Seroepidemiological study of visceral leishmaniasis among humans and animal reservoirs in Bushehr province, I. R. Iran. Eastern Meditrr Health J 2001; 7: 912-7.

IssueVol 1 No 3/4 (2015) QRcode
SectionOriginal Article(s)
visceral leishmaniasis seroprevalence direct agglutination test nomadic tribes Iran

Rights and permissions
Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.
How to Cite
Abbaszadeh-Afshar MJ, Mohebali M, Sharifi I, Akhoundi B, Aflatoonian MR, Bahreini MS, Mahmoudvand H. Seroepidemiological survey of Visceral leishmaniasis among nomadic tribes of Kerman Province, Southeastern Iran: An observational study for implication to health policy. JBE. 2015;1(3/4):105-111.