The global distribution of leishmaniasis is rapidly expanding into new geographic regions. Dogs are the primary reservoir hosts for human visceral leishmaniasis caused by infection with Leishmania infantum. Natural infections with other Leishmania spp. can occur in dogs, but their role as reservoir hosts for other species of Leishmania is uncertain. Leishmania donovani is traditionally considered a visceralizing anthroponotic species; however, cutaneous leishmaniasis caused by L. donovani has been reported in Sri Lanka. In the present study, sera from 114 dogs in Sri Lanka were examined for antibodies to visceralizing Leishmania spp. Sera were tested by the canine immunochromatographic strip assays based on recombinant K39 antigen. Anti-Leishmania spp. antibodies were detectable in 1 of 114 (0.9%) dogs from Sri Lanka. Nonetheless, serological evidence suggests that leishmaniasis may be an emerging zoonosis in Sri Lanka.

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