Vector-borne Infectious Diseases in Climate Change Investigations (VICCI):

Project 6: Autochthonous Leishmaniasis in Bavaria: Studies of Vector Prevalence and of Animal Reservoirs

Project Director

Dipl. Biol. Simone Häberlein, Kirstin Castiglione, Dr. rer. nat. Ulrike Schleicher and Prof. Dr. Christian Bogdan
Mikrobiologisches Institut - Klinische Mikrobiologie, Immunologie und Hygiene, Universitätsklinikum Erlangen


Background: In 1998 the first sandflies were detected in Germany in the Upper Rhine Valley (Naucke and Pesson, 1999). In the same year we diagnosed visceral leishmaniasis in a 15 month-old German child, who had no history of travel to areas known to be endemic for leishmaniasis (Bogdan et al., 2001). Others described cases of canine and equine leishmaniasis near Landsberg/Lech and Cologne (Gothe et al., 1991; Köhler et al., 2002). This data indicate that in addition to imported leishmaniasis (Weitzel et al., 2004) autochthonous cases occur in Germany.

Aims: The project aims to analyse (1) the prevalence of sandflies in various regions of Bavaria; (2) the prevalence of Leishmania infections in asymptomatic or symptomatic dogs, cats and horses without history of travelling to known endemic areas.

Methods: In various regions of Bavaria sampling for sandflies with the help of light traps will be performed. Organs from wild rodents will be analysed for the presence of Leishmania infections by various PCR techniques. Clinically asymptomatic or symptomatic domestic dogs, cats and horses without origin in or travelling to foreign countries will be tested for the presence of anti-Leishmania antibodies using Western blotting and immunofluorescence tests.

Perspective: Both arms of the study will provide data that are essential for estimating the risk to acquire cutaneous or visceral leishmaniasis in Bavaria.


Bogdan, C., Schönian, G., Banuls, A.-L., Hide, M., Pratlong, F., Lorenz, E., et al (2001) Visceral leishmaniosis in a German child that had never entered a known endemic area: case report and review of the literature. Clin. Infect. Dis. 32: 302-307.
Bogdan C. 2002. Reisemedizinisch relevante Protozoenerkrankungen im Kindesalter: Leishmaniose und Malaria als Beispiele. Kinder- und Jugendmedizin 2: 73-83
Bogdan C. 2006. Leishmaniosen im Kindesalter. Monatsschrift Kinderheilkunde 154: 221-228
Bogdan C., Reiter-Iwona I. 2010. Leishmaniosen. In: MIQ – Qualitätsstandards in der Mikrobiologischen Diagnostik, Heft 4 Parasitosen (Janitschke et al.)
Gothe, R. (1991) Leishmaniosen des Hundes in Deutschland: Erregerfauna und -biologie, Epidemiologie, Klinik, Pathogenese, Diagnose, Therapie und Prophylaxe. Kleintierpraxis. 36: 69-84.
Köhler, K., Stechele, M., Hetzel, U., Domingo, M., Schönian, G., Zahner, H. and Burkhardt, E. (2002) Cutaneous leishmaniosis in a horse in southern Germany caused by Leishmania infantum. Vet. Parasitol. 109: 9-17.
Landmann E, Bogdan C, Donhauser N, Artlich A, Staude B, Gortner L: Leishmaniose mit kutaner und viszeraler Beteiligung bei einem 13 Jahre alten Jungen. Klinische Pädiatrie 212 (2000) 266-267
Naucke, T.J. and Pesson, B. (1999) Presence of Phlebotomus (Transphlebotomus) mascittii Grassi, 1908 (Diptera: Psychodidae) in Germany. Parasitol. Res. 86: 335-336.
Weitzel, T., Mühlberger, N., Jelinek, T., Schunk, M., Ehrhardt, S., Bogdan, C., et al (2004) Imported leishmaniasis in Germany 2001-2004: data of the SIMPID surveillance network. Eur. J. Clin. Microbiol. Infect. Dis. 24: 471-476.