Tegumentary leishmaniasis (TL) is a zoonotic disease that affects humans and domestic dogs. In Brazil, TL is considered endemic, and Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis is the prevalent species causing this disease. There is debate about the role of dogs (Canis familiaris) as domestic reservoirs in the transmission cycle of TL. To date, classical parasitological techniques, including parasite isolation in culture media, have been able to detect parasites only from cutaneous lesions. In this study, we detected L. (V.) braziliensis DNA in intact skin fragments collected from 3 naturally infected dogs from the state of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, with the use of PCR techniques associated with molecular hybridization. The detection of parasitic DNA in this anatomical site is an important finding vis-à-vis the importance of the domestic dogs in endemic areas of TL.

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