Dynamics of Leishmania chagasi infection in small mammals of the undisturbed and degraded tropical dry forests of northern Colombia

B. L. Travi, Y. Osorio, M. T. Becerra, G. H. Adler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

29 Scopus citations


The infection rate with Leishmania chagasi and the population dynamics of small mammals were studied in an undisturbed forest reserve (Coloso) and an area of highly degraded forest (San Andres de Sotavento [SAS]) in northern Colombia, both endemic for visceral leishmaniasis. Live trapping of mammals was done every month, and species, age, sex and reproductive status determined. L. chagasi was detected in samples of skin or spleen by the polymerase chain reaction, after extraction of deoxyribonucleic acid using specific primers (DB8/AJS3), and dot blood hybridization. Didelphis marsupialis was found to be infected in Coloso (3/21, 14.3%) and SAS (13/137, 9.5%); its relative abundance was higher in SAS (93/113, 82% of the captures). Although Proechimys canicoillis was also found to be infected in Coloso (3/34, 8.8%) and SAS (2/4), its relative abundance was much lower (4%) in SAS than in Coloso (56% of 77 animals captured). Sciurus granatensis, Marmosa robinsoni, Heteromys anomalus, Zygodontomys brevicauda and Metachirus nudicaudatus were less common, and no L. chagasi infection was detected in them.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)275-278
Number of pages4
JournalTransactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jan 1 1998
Externally publishedYes



  • Colombia
  • Didelphis marsupialis
  • Leishmania chagasi
  • Leishmaniasis
  • Proechimys canicollis
  • Reservoir hosts

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Parasitology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases

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