Originally associated with forested areas, the transmission cycle of American cutaneous leishmaniasis (ACL) has now adapted to the domestic environment in at least 9 Latin American countries. Several studies have suggested that the domestic dog (Canis familiaris), which is already incriminated as the primary reservoir host of zoonotic visceral leishmaniasis (ZVL), may have a reservoir role in the domestic transmission of human ACL caused by Leishmania braziliensis, L. panamensis, and L. peruviana. This article reviews more than 90 studies reporting ACL infections in dogs, and concludes that as yet there is only circumstantial evidence to support that claim. Almost no data are available on the infectiousness of dogs to sandfly vectors of ACL, and there are few indications that either dog ownership or dog abundance are risk factors for ACL. Nevertheless, it has been proposed that incidence of ACL in humans could be reduced by targeting infected dogs. While this control strategy has been used for many decades against ZVL in Latin America, Europe, and Asia, there is little evidence to demonstrate its effectiveness either in theory or in practice. Particular concerns over the sensitivity and specificity of diagnostic tools, low compliance rates among dog owners, and cost-effectiveness are likely to apply equally to ACL control.
Is the domestic dog (Canis familiaris) a reservoir host of American cutaneous leishmaniasis?
A critical review of the current evidence
Reithinger, R., & Davies, C. R. (1999). Is the domestic dog (Canis familiaris) a reservoir host of American cutaneous leishmaniasis? A critical review of the current evidence. American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, 61(4), 530-541.