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Canine leishmaniosis: assessing the situation in Europe

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THE use of topically applied insecticide appears to be the most effective measure in reducing the probability of canine leishmaniosis being introduced and establishing in non-endemic areas of Europe.

This is one of the conclusions reached in a scientific opinion developed by the Animal Health and Welfare (AHAW) panel of the European Food Safety Authority (EFSA). The EFSA was asked by the European Commission to provide a brief characterisation of canine leishmaniosis in Europe; to assess the efficacy of available preventive measures with the aim of reducing the likelihood of the disease being introduced into free areas of the European Union; and to assess the probability of the disease establishing in free areas if it were introduced by infected dogs.

In the opinion, which was published last month, the EFSA notes that canine leishmaniosis is endemic in European countries and regions surrounding the Mediterranean, with disease distribution matching that of its sandfly vectors. Noting that serological testing has indicated that, on average, 10 per cent of dogs in endemic countries are seropositive for Leishmania infantum, it reports that PCR studies in the same areas have indicated much higher prevalences, with up to …

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