Cutaneous leishmaniasis in the Volta district of Ghana: An uncertain reservoir for focal disease outbreak.

Original article


G Raczniak 1,2, JT Villinski 3 , N Puplampu 2 , S Mechta 2 , JD Klena 3, S Felt 3, M Abbassy 3, H Hanafi 3, DF Hoel 3 , M Wilson 2 , D Boakye 2

1-U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3 (NAMRU-3), Ghana Detachment. 2-Noguchi Memorial Institute of Medical Research (NMIMR), Accra, Ghana . 3-U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3 (NAMRU-3), Cairo, Egypt.

Libyan J Infect Dis. Vol. 2, No.1. Jan-2008:26-30


Background/Objectives: In 2003, there was an unexpected outbreak of leishmaniasis in the humid tropical Volta region of Ghana. This was the first reported outbreak in the country in a moist humid forested area atypical of normal regions leishmaniasis is often seen. In addition, it was unknown at the time which specific species of leishmaniasis was responsible for the outbreak of disease. Furthermore, because of the atypical environment of the area it was unclear what specific vector or reservoir was part of this pathogenic transmission cycle.
Materials and Methods: In 2006, tissue and sera were collected from thirty three small mammals and forty four local livestock from three eastern Ghanaian villages. The specimens were catalogued and classified according to species. Utilizing real time PCR analysis, these samples did not reveal the presence of leishmaniasis DNA.
Results: We verified that the samples taken were not inhibiting the real time PCR reaction by spiking the isolated DNA extracts with Leishmania major DNA. Therefore, one can be confident that the extracts prepared did not contain an inhibition factor and the samples are truly negative for the presence of Leishmania DNA. Thus, the reservoir etiology of the leishmaniasis outbreak in Ghana is unknown at this time.
Conclusion: This information is guiding us to help design new investigations and current efforts are ongoing to identify this reservoir with the anticipation to institute control interventions to prevent disease transmission.

Keywords: Cutaneous Leishmaniasis, Leishmania major, DNA, PCR, Ghana, outbreak, tropical Volta region.