This report describes the isolation of a Leishmania chagasi
strain from a bat (Carollia perspicillata), and its identification using biological methods and molecular characterization. The parasites were isolated in an artificial culture medium from a blood sample extracted from a bat heart. The isolate was then inoculated into the footpads of Balb/c mice, which subsequently developed a typical nodular leishmanial lesion; the parasites were confirmed as Leishmania
by smear and histopathology. Molecular characterization of the parasites was performed by polymerase chain reaction with species-specific primers, kDNA restriction pattern following Hae III endonuclease digestion and dot blot hybridization using a kDNA probe. This report demonstrates that bats can be hosts for L. chagasi
species and suggests the need for studies to determine whether they may be involved in foci of visceral leishmaniasis.