Background: Domestic cats have been implicated as accidental hosts of Leishmania sp. However, in recent years, the recurrent description of new cases in endemic and nonendemic areas draw attention to the potential epidemiological role of cats as reservoir hosts. Although dogs are considered urban reservoirs, cats could act as a secondary natural reservoirs in these areas. Thus, feline leishmaniasis has become an emerging disease in several countries worldwide. Case presentation: This study aimed to describe the first case of feline leishmaniasis in a stray animal that presented lesions compatible with the disease in Belém, Pará, Brazil, an important urban area in eastern Amazon. Serological tests for Leishmania infantum (ELISA and IFA) were nonreactive, whereas histopathological examination indicated infectious dermatitis caused by Leishmania spp. or Toxoplasma gondii. Cytopathological study of lesion aspirate confirmed the presence of Leishmania sp. amastigotes within macrophages. Finally, molecular analyses revealed that the feline infection was caused by Leishmania (Leishmania) infantum chagasi. Conclusion: To the best of the authors’ knowledge, this study reports the first case of natural infection by Leishmania (Leishmania) infantum chagasi in a feline from eastern Amazon. These findings suggest domestic cats as potential secondary reservoir hosts of Leishmania spp. in Belém, which reinforces the importance of further epidemiological investigation of feline leishmaniasis, especially in urban areas with human cases.
Keywords: Feline leishmaniasis; Leishmania (Leishmania) infantum chagasi ; Molecular diagnostic; Eastern Amazon; State of Pará; Amazon region