Zoonotic Cutaneous Leishmaniasis (ZCL) is a disease highly prevalent in North Africa and Middle East that is caused by Leishmania major. The TMRC program has three main goals :1-Describe the natural history of L. major infection as expressed in an endemic area especially with regard to asymptomatic infection .disease severity and risk of disease recurrence;2-Analyse the respective roles of factors specific of the vector(sand fly saliva ),or the parasite(intraspecies polymorphism) or the host immune response(innate or adaptative), in the clinical expression of ZCL with special emphasis on the identification of immune correlates of protection against primoinfection, disease occurrence or recurrence;3-Reinforce the application of Good Epidemiological Clinical and Laboratory Practices at all levels of programme implementation. In order to reach these goals, we shall conduct a large clinical prospective survey in a region endemic for ZCL. All enrolled individuals will be extensively investigated, clinically and immunologically, in order to accurately define their clinical history with regard to leishmania infection (including LST reactivity) as well as their in vitro immune responses to vector saliva components and parasite antigens at baseline Then an active detection of all ZCL cases, that will emerge among the cohort members will be conducted during the two following years .Leishmania isolates that could be grown from active lesions will be extensively investigated at the functional level in order to identify intraspecies diversity due to differential expression of virulence factors. The study will draw a picture of the natural history of L major infection in the region. In addition the clinical, immunological and parasitological informations generated by the program will be integrated into a multiparametric analysis. This will permit to identify immune correlates of protection that take into consideration the eventual effects of intraspecies functional polymorphism of L major and reservoir diversity. These data are of crucial importance for the development and evaluation of effective vaccines or antileishmanial drugs.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID)
Specialized Center (P50)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZAI1-GSM-M (J1))
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Rao, Malla R
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Institute Pasteur de Tunis
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