Seroepidemiological study on visceral leishmaniasis in an endemic focus of central Iran during 2017

  • Leyli Zanjirani Farahani
  • Mehdi MohebaliEmail author
  • Behnaz Akhoundi
  • Abedin Saghafipour
  • Zahra Kakooei
Original Article


Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is a serious parasitic disease that occurs in some areas of Iran as endemic and sporadic forms. Qom province in central Iran is one of the endemic foci of VL, which is an important issue due to existence of local population density, foreign travelers and resided migrants. This descriptive cross-sectional study that was conducted with the aim of evaluating seroprevalence of VL in the studied area. The research considers various risk factors like immigration and tourism for planning prevention and disease control programs. Random cluster sample selection applied and 960 blood samples collected from children up to 12 years of age. The samples were taken from 22 villages in four clusters, during 2017. A questionnaire was given to each individual after obtaining parental consent. All collected sera assessed by Direct Agglutination Test to detect anti-Leishmania infantum antibodies. The antibody titers of ≥ 1:3200, accompanied by clinical symptoms, considered as VL disease. Eventually, 3 (0.3%) cases showed anti-L. infantum antibodies with titers of ≥ 1:1600, while 2 of them (0.2%) had antibody titers of 1:3200 with no clinical manifestations. In order to investigate the increase of antibody, resampling performed after 2–3 weeks in which no antibody rising observed. The findings indicate that distribution pattern of VL is changing from endemic to sporadic form in rural areas of Qom province. Therefore, it is necessary to continue the surveillance by public health centers besides conducting further studies on VL reservoirs and vectors with the aim of VL control in the area.


Leishmania infantum Visceral leishmaniasis Seroepidemiological DAT Iran 



This study was supported by the Department of Health in Tehran University of Medical Sciences (TUMS), Tehran, Iran and also Qom University of Medical Sciences, Qom, Iran, under Ethical Supervisory Committee code of TUMS.REC.1396.2332. Here we are grateful for the support of the staff in Qom Province Health Center and Rural Health Houses as well as all individuals participating in the study. Moreover, we would like to thank the staff in Leishmaniasis Laboratory in Parasitology Department of TUMS, especially Dr. Homa Hajaran and Dr. Samira Elikaei, for their valuable support during the experiments. Funding was provided by Tehran University of Medical Sciences and Health Services (Grant No. MSc thesis No. 240/221).

Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical considerations

To maintain ethics, before sampling, an informed consent obtained from parents of all children participating in the study. This study had the approval code IR.TUMS.REC.1396.2332 from the Research Ethical Review Committee of Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran.


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Copyright information

© Indian Society for Parasitology 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leyli Zanjirani Farahani
    • 1
  • Mehdi Mohebali
    • 1
    Email author
  • Behnaz Akhoundi
    • 1
  • Abedin Saghafipour
    • 2
  • Zahra Kakooei
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Medical Parasitology and Mycology, School of Public HealthTehran University of Medical SciencesTehranIran
  2. 2.Department of Public Health, Faculty of HealthQom University of Medical SciencesQomIran

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