Short Communication

Molecular Identification of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis Species in the Northcentral Iranian Province of Alborz: Is There a New Focus on Cutaneous Leishmaniasis in the Province?


Background: Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is an endemic infection in the Middle East, including Iran that is also spreading to new foci. We aimed to determine the leishmaniasis species causing CL in Alborz province.

Methods: Overall, out of 55-suspected CL patients referred to health centers in Alborz Province, north central Iran in 2019, 40 patients had positive smear for CL based on optical microscopy. The internal transcribed spacer 1 (ITS1) of nuclear ribosomal DNA (rDNA) was amplified by PCR. Leishmania species were identified by PCR–restriction fragment length polymorphism (PCR-RFLP) using BshF I (Hae III) enzyme.

Results: Out of the 40 positive patients with CL, 34 cases (85%) had been caused by Leishmania (L) major and six (15%) by L. tropica. Fifteen patients had no history of traveling to the disease endemic areas, of which nine were Iranians. Skin lesions and scars caused by CL were mostly observed on the hands and face. Moreover, more than two skin lesions were observed in 22 cases (55%), all of which were infected with L. major. A single skin ulcer was seen in 18 (45%) of the CL patients.

Conclusion:  Climate change, reduced rainfall, and demographic changes such as migration into Alborz Province and the increasing marginalization of the population and their entry to settle in new areas might have caused natural transmission of both L. tropica and L. major in this province.

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IssueVol 18 No 2 (2023) QRcode
SectionShort Communication(s)
Cutaneous Leishmaniasis Iran Leishmania major Leishmania tropica

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How to Cite
Sheikhi S, Heidari A, Mohebali M, Keshavarz H, Heidari A, Sezavar M, Akhoundi B, Bairami A. Molecular Identification of Cutaneous Leishmaniasis Species in the Northcentral Iranian Province of Alborz: Is There a New Focus on Cutaneous Leishmaniasis in the Province?. Iran J Parasitol. 2023;18(2):244-250.