Skin, lymph node (popliteal), and bone marrow samples were collected from 50 red foxes (Vulpes vulpes) from May 2004 to May 2005 in southern Italy. Samples were tested for Leishmania infantum by polymerase chain reaction (PCR). The parasite was detected by PCR from 20 of 50 (40%) fox carcasses. All 20 positive cases were PCR-positive from lymph node and bone marrow samples, whereas 17 of 20 positive cases were PCR-positive from skin samples. Infection status was not related to age or sex. This is the first report of leishmaniasis in red foxes in Italy based on PCR results, and these results reinforce the assumption that this wild canid can serve as a reservoir for Leishmania.
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Vol. 43 • No. 3