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The parasite of parasites

In addition to the sand fly, visceral leishmaniasis can be transmitted to dogs and cats by parasites, such as the brown tick, Rhipicephalus sanguineus, and the flea, Ctenocephalides felis felis. In 2005, a team from the Federal University of Minas Gerais presented this possibility in the journal Veterinary Parasitology, a hypothesis that has now been reinforced by a team from the Adolfo Lutz Institute (Parasitology Research, August 2011). Fábio Colombo, from the group coordinated by Vera Pereira-Chioccola, examined 73 dogs caught in Mirandópolis, in São Paulo state, and found that 60 had leishmaniasis, 40 had fleas and almost all of them had ticks. According to a DNA analysis, the rate of infection by the Leishmania protozoa, which causes the disease, was 28% in fleas and over 50% in ticks. RNA studies indicated that there were live protozoa inside tick pupa removed from infected dogs.