HAIRS risk assessment: canine leishmaniasis

21 January 2020

Article: 54/304

The Human Animal Infections and Risk Surveillance (HAIRS) group, a multi-agency cross-government horizon scanning and risk assessment group, has published a qualitative assessment of the risk that canine leishmaniasis presents to the UK population.

Leishmaniasis is the term used to cover a diverse group of diseases which can affect humans and other mammals, and is caused by obligate intracellular protozoan parasites of the genus Leishmania. Canine leishmaniasis is primarily caused by L. infantum and has been reported in untravelled dogs in UK.

In summary, the risk assessment concludes that the probability of human infection with canine Leishmania species in the UK population is very low and that the impact of canine leishmaniasis on human health in the UK is very low to moderate. 

The recommendations of the risk assessment are:

  • raising awareness among vets and pet owners 
  • maintaining an overview of changing epidemiology and/or evidence 
  • to consider the need to institute systematic surveillance for sandflies

The risk assessment document was prepared by Public Health England (PHE) on behalf of the joint HAIRS group.

Source: PHE, 16 January 2020