Animal reservoirs of leishmaniasis in Marigat, Baringo District, Kenya.
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A total of 1128 rodents belonging to seven genera were examined for leishmanial parasites over a period of sixteen months. Parasites were isolated from 36 (12.5%) Tatera robusta, 3 (0.5%) Arvicanthis niloticus, and 2 (0.8%) Mastomys natalensis. All isolates were characterised by isoenzyme analysis using nine enzymes. The enzymes examined were: malate dehydrogenase (MDH), phosphoglucomutase (PGM), glucose phosphate isomerase (GPI), isocitrate dehydrogenase (ICD), nucleoside hydrolase (NH), glucose 6-phosphate dehydrogenase (G6PD), mannose phosphate isomerase (MPI), malic enzyme (ME) and 6-phosphogluconate dehydrogenase (6PGD). The enzyme profiles from these isolates were compared with those from Leishmania reference strains and also with isolates of Leishmania major from man and sandfly, P. duboscqci from the same area. All the isolates except one from a Mastomys were identified as L. major. The isolate from Mastomys was trypanosome-like and remains unidentified. The results in this study show that Tatera robusta is the main reservoir of cutaneous leishmaniasis in Baringo District. None of the animals trapped were found infected with Leishmania donovani suggesting that rodents do not play a role in the transmission of visceral leishmaniasis in this area.