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First report on molecular characterization of Leishmania species from cutaneous leishmaniasis patients in southern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province of Pakistan.

Asian Pac J Trop Med; 10(7): 718-721, 2017 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: mdl-28870350


To report presence of Leishmania major in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa of Pakistan, where cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is endemic and was thought to be caused by Leishmania tropica only.


Biopsy samples from 432 CL suspected patients were collected from 3 southern districts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa during years 2011-2016. Microscopy on Giemsa stained slides were done followed by amplification of the ribosomal internal transcribed spacer 1 gene.


Leishmania amastigotes were detected by microscopy in 308 of 432 samples (71.3%) while 374 out of 432 samples (86.6%) were positive by ribosomal internal transcribed spacer 1 PCR. Subsequent restriction fragment length polymorphism confirmed L. tropica in 351 and L. major in 6 biopsy samples.


This study is the first molecular characterization of Leishmania species in southern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. It confirmed the previous assumptions that anthroponotic CL is the major CL form present in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province. Furthermore, this is the first report of L. major from a classical anthroponotic CL endemic focus identified in rural areas of Kohat district in southern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.