The canine leishmaniosis is a vector-borne disease caused by the intracellular protozoan parasites of the genus Leishmania. Although it has been demonstrated that dogs can be infected by at least twelve different species of Leishmania, the most important etiological agent of leishmaniosis is Leishmania infantum (Leishmania chagasi in Central and South America), which is the main cause of visceral and cutaneous leishmaniosis in dogs and humans in the south of Europe, near East, Africa and Central and South America. The dog is the specie more predisposed to suffer the infection of L. infantum and where the clinical symptoms are more aggressive. The canine leishmaniosis is spread in approximately 50 countries around the world, with especially high prevalence in countries of the Mediterranean basin and of South America.
The protein K39 is a repetitive immunodominant epitope in a kinesin-related protein that is highly conserved among viscerotropic Leishmania species. It has been described that a rK39 ELISA is sensitive and specific for serodiagnosis of human and canine VL.
For diagnosis of the disease in dogs.
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