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Prevention of canine visceral leishmaniasis via permethrin spot-on?
Many dogs are travelling with their owners to countries with endemic leishmaniasis. Often the question is raised how to protect the animals from the vectors. This study was designed to examine the effect of 65% permethrin spot-on on the prevalence of canine visceral leishmaniasis and the abundance of sand flies in two neighborhoods in Corumba, Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil known to have a high prevalence of visceral leishmaniasis.

An enrollment survey was conducted to determine the prevalence of visceral leishmaniasis. Area residents were provided with information about the project; the study area was defined, and all dogs (160 in Cristo Redentor and 230 in Popular Velha) identified in the study area were enrolled. Three 65% permethrin spot-on treatments (June 15-25, July 13-15, and August 10-12) were administered to 150, 110, and 99 dogs, respectively, in Popular Velha, according to label recommendations. Dogs in Cristo Redentor were untreated controls. Visceral leishmaniasis was diagnosed periodically by indirect immunofluorescence assay. A reduction in canine visceral leishmaniasis prevalence was observed at the Popular Velha site. The infection rate for treated dogs 1 month following the final treatment was approximately 50% reduced from that observed before treatment(19.3% vs 9.6%). Conversely, the infection rate at the control site was more than 80% higher at the September sampling than that observed pretreatment (4.1% vs 7.4%). Similar numbers of sand flies were captured and identified from both sites throughout the study. The results suggest that regular use of 65% permethrin during months of high risk for canine visceral leishmaniasis can be a useful strategy for reducing the prevalence of this disease in hyperendemic areas. It should be stressed, however, that the success of this strategy depends not only on the efficacy of the product itself but also on the adoption of other control measures and on economic variables, considering the low purchasing power of the populations living in higher-risk neighborhoods.

Source: Giffoni JH, De Almeida CE, Dos Santos SO, Ortega VS, De Barros AT (2002): Evaluation of 65% permethrin spot-on for prevention of canine visceral leishmaniasis: effect on disease prevalence and the vectors (Diptera: psychodidae) in a hyperendemic area. In: Vet Ther 2002 Winter;3(4), pp 485-92



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