Phlebotomine sand fly-borne pathogens such as Leishmania spp. and phleboviruses are emerging threats to humans and animals worldwide. The aim of this work was to evaluate the exposure of cats from Portugal to Toscana virus (TOSV) and Sandfly Fever Sicilian virus (SFSV) and assess the associated risk factors. The possible association between exposure to Phlebotomus perniciosus saliva with TOSV and SFSV was also investigated. Out of 369 cats tested, 18 (4.9%, n = 365) were seropositive for TOSV, and eight (2.2%, n = 367) were seropositive for SFSV. Multivariate logistic regression analysis showed that cats presenting clinical signs that were compatible with leishmaniosis and antibodies to TOSV had a significantly higher risk of being SFSV seropositive. The presence of antibodies to sand fly-borne viruses in cats indicate that these animals are frequently exposed to sand flies and transmitted pathogens. Data suggest that cats can be used to qualitatively monitor human exposure to TOSV and SFSV in endemic areas. The clinical impact of SFSV in cats' health should be investigated. The identification of the sand fly species responsible for the circulation of TOSV and SFSV in nature and the evaluation of the vectorial competence of P. perniciosus to SFSV should also be addressed.
- Phlebotomus perniciosus
- Sandfly Fever Sicilian Virus
- Toscana virus
UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
- SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-Being