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Print version ISSN 0120-4157


DIAZ, Ricardo G. et al. First molecular characterization of Leishmania infantum species in patients infected with visceral leishmaniasis in Misiones province, Argentina. Biomédica [online]. 2019, vol.39, n.2, pp.405-414. ISSN 0120-4157.


Cutaneous leishmaniasis caused by L. braziliensis has been historically endemic in Argentina and several cases of visceral leishmaniasis following initial cutaneous leishmaniasis have been reported. Visceral leishmaniasis started to appear in Argentina in 2006 in the city of Posadas, Misiones province, affecting both humans and dogs.


To identify the etiologic agent to species level in patients with visceral leishmaniasis diagnosis in Misiones province and describe its clinical and epidemiological characteristics.

Materials and methods:

A cohort of 24 patients from Misiones province was studied from 2009 to 2016, all with a confirmed diagnosis of visceral leishmaniasis. To identify the Leishmania species involved, patient samples were analyzed by microscopy, serologic studies, DNA detection, and sequencing. Variables such as age, sex, place of residence, clinical signs and symptoms consistent with visceral leishmaniasis were also recorded.


75% (18/24) of the patients studied were males and 25% (6/24) were younger than 4 years. The most frequent symptom was a prolonged fever in 87.5% of the patients (21/24), followed by splenomegaly in 70.8% (17/24). Leishmania infantum was the only parasite species identified in all patients.


This finding constitutes the first molecular identification of the Leishmania infantum species in autochthonous patients of Misiones province, Argentina. This study highlights the importance of PCR for species identification in epidemiological studies of visceral leishmaniosis in Argentina.

Keywords : Leishmania infantum, polymerase chain reaction, leishmaniasis, visceral; Argentina.

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