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Concept: Phlebotominae


Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) is a disease caused by two known vector-borne parasite species (Leishmania donovani, L. infantum), transmitted to man by phlebotomine sand flies (species: Phlebotomus and Lutzomyia), resulting in ≈50,000 human fatalities annually, ≈67% occurring on the Indian subcontinent. Indoor residual spraying is the current method of sand fly control in India, but alternative means of vector control, such as the treatment of livestock with systemic insecticide-based drugs, are being evaluated. We describe an individual-based, stochastic, life-stage-structured model that represents a sand fly vector population within a village in India and simulates the effects of vector control via fipronil-based drugs orally administered to cattle, which target both blood-feeding adults and larvae that feed on host feces.

Concepts: India, Indian subcontinent, Leishmaniasis, Leishmania, Flies, Phlebotominae, Phlebotomus, Lutzomyia


Abstract. Visceral leishmaniasis was first reported in Bhutan in 2006. We conducted studies of the parasite, possible vectors and reservoirs, and leishmanin skin test and risk factor surveys in three villages. Nineteen cases were reported from seven districts. Parasite typing yielded two novel microsatellite sequences, both related to Indian L. donovani. In one case village, 40 (18.5%) of 216 participants had positive leishmanin skin test results, compared with 3 (4.2%) of 72 in the other case village and 0 of 108 in the control village. Positive results were strongly associated with the village and increasing age. None of the tested dogs were infected. Eighteen sand flies were collected, 13 Phlebotomus species and 5 Sergentomyia species; polymerase chain reaction for leishmanial DNA was negative. This assessment suggests that endemic visceral leishmaniasis transmission has occurred in diverse locations in Bhutan. Surveillance, case investigations, and further parasite, vector, and reservoir studies are needed. The potential protective impact of bed nets should be evaluated.

Concepts: DNA, Polymerase chain reaction, DNA polymerase, Leishmaniasis, Leishmania, Thermus aquaticus, Phlebotominae, Canine leishmaniasis


Abstract. The occurrence of American cutaneous leishmaniasis (ACL) in areas modified by humans indicates that phlebotomine sand fly vectors breed close to human habitations. Potential peridomiciliary breeding sites of phlebotomines were sampled in an area of transmission of Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis in Southeastern Brazil. Three concentric circles rounding houses and domestic animal shelters, with radii of 20, 40, and 60 m, defined the area to be monitored using adult emergence traps. Of the 67 phlebotomines collected, Lutzomyia intermedia comprised 71.6%; Lutzomyia schreiberi, 20.9%; and Lutzomyia migonei, 4.5%. The predominance of L. intermedia, the main species suspected of transmitting L. (V.) braziliensis in Southeastern Brazil, indicates its participation in the domiciliary transmission of ACL, providing evidence that the domiciliary ACL transmission cycle might be maintained by phlebotomines that breed close to human habitations. This finding might also help in planning measures that would make the peridomiciliary environment less favorable for phlebotomine breeding sites.

Concepts: Leishmaniasis, Cutaneous leishmaniasis, Leishmania, Flies, Fly, Phlebotominae, Phlebotomus, Lutzomyia


BACKGROUND: Canine Visceral Leishmaniasis (CVL) is a zoonotic disease caused by Leishmania infantum, transmitted by the bite of Lutzomyia longipalpis sand flies. Dogs are the main domestic reservoir of the parasite. The establishment of an experimental model that partially reproduces natural infection in dogs is very important to test vaccine candidates, mainly regarding those that use salivary proteins from the vector and new therapeutical approaches. METHODOLOGYPRINCIPAL FINDINGS: In this report, we describe an experimental infection in dogs, using intradermal injection of Leishmania infantum plus salivary gland homogenate (SGH) of Lutzomyia longipalpis. Thirty-five dogs were infected with 1×10(7) parasites combined with five pairs of Lutzomyia longipalpis salivary glands and followed for 450 days after infection and clinical, immunological and parasitological parameters were evaluated. Two hundred and ten days after infection we observed that 31,4% of dogs did not display detectable levels of anti-Leishmania antibodies but all presented different numbers of parasites in the lymph nodes. Animals with a positive xenodiagnosis had at least 3,35×10(5) parasites in their lymph nodes. An increase of IFN-γ and IL-10 levels was detected during infection. Twenty two percent of dogs developed symptoms of CVL during infection. CONCLUSION: The infection model described here shows some degree of similarity when compared with naturally infected dogs opening new perspectives for the study of CVL using an experimental model that employs the combination of parasites and sand fly saliva both present during natural transmission.

Concepts: Immune system, Saliva, Leishmaniasis, Leishmania, Glands, Salivary gland, Zoonosis, Phlebotominae


There are nearly 1000 species of Phlebotomine sand flies in 6 genera, of which only two, Phlebotomus in the old world and Lutzomyia in the new world are medically important. Globally, leishmaniasis prevalent in 98 countries and affects estimated 12 million people with almost two million new cases per year. Some rural areas of Azarshahr District in East Azarbaijan Province have been reported to be endemic for visceral leishmaniasis. This study is the first attempt to determine the species diversity and density in a new focus of visceral leishmaniasis in Azarshahr District, East Azarbaijan Province, Iran.

Concepts: Biodiversity, Leishmaniasis, Leishmania, Flies, Phlebotominae, Phlebotomus, Lutzomyia, East Azarbaijan Province


Leishmaniases are parasitic diseases caused by protozoa of the genus Leishmania. The parasites, which infect various wild and domestic mammals, including humans, are transmitted by the bite of phlebotomine sand flies belonging to the Phlebotomus genus in the Old World and to several genera (including Lutzomyia, Psychodopygus and Nyssomyia) in the New World. In this paper, we consider the genus Sergentomyia as divided into seven subgenera, mainly based on spermathecal morphology: Sergentomyia, Sintonius, Parrotomyia, Rondanomyia, Capensomyia, Vattieromyia and Trouilletomyia. We also include the groups Grassomyia and Demeillonius but exclude the genera Spelaeomyia and Parvidens. The possible role of Sergentomyia in the circulation of mammalian leishmaniases in the Old World has been considered as Leishmania DNA and/or parasites have been identified in several species. However, several criteria must be fulfilled to incriminate an arthropod as a biological vector of leishmaniasis, namely: it must be attracted to and willing to feed on humans and any reservoir host, and be present in the same environment; several unambiguously identified wild female flies not containing blood meals have to be found infected (through isolation and/or typing of parasites) with the same strain of Leishmania as occurs in humans or any reservoir host; the presence of infective forms of Leishmania on naturally infected females and/or on colonized sand flies infected experimentally should be observed; and finally, the vector has to be able to transmit parasites as a result of blood-feeding on a susceptible mammal.

Concepts: Species, Mammal, Leishmaniasis, Leishmania, Order, Phlebotominae, Phlebotomus, Lutzomyia


A number of studies on visceral leishmaniasis (VL) vector control have been conducted during the past decade, sometimes came to very different conclusion. The present study on a large sample investigated different options which are partially unexplored including: (1) indoor residual spraying (IRS) with alpha cypermethrin 5WP; (2) long lasting insecticide impregnated bed-net (LLIN); (3) impregnation of local bed-nets with slow release insecticide K-O TAB 1-2-3 (KOTAB); (4) insecticide spraying in potential breeding sites outside of house using chlorpyrifos 20EC (OUT) and different combinations of the above.

Concepts: Randomized controlled trial, Leishmaniasis, Leishmania, Flies, Pesticides, Phlebotominae, Phlebotomus, Lutzomyia


Leishmaniasis in Serbia was an endemic disease, and is considered to be eradicated for more than 40 years. In the past decade sporadic cases of canine leishmaniasis started to emerge for the first time in Vojvodina Province (previously non-endemic region of Serbia). Reports of introduced, and later on autochthonous cases of leishmaniasis alerted the possibility of disease emergence. The aim of this study was to bridge more than a half a century wide gap in entomological surveillance of sand fly vectors in Vojvodina, as well as to verify the presence of the vector species that could support Leishmania spp. circulation.

Concepts: Malaria, Mosquito, Leishmaniasis, Leishmania, Phlebotominae, Canine leishmaniasis, Phlebotomus, Vojvodina


Phlebotomine sand flies (Diptera, Psychodidae) are vectors of Leishmania spp., among which Leishmania infantum is recognized as the main agent of human and canine leishmaniosis (CanL) in the Mediterranean area. In this study, females of Phlebotomus spp. (P. perniciosus, P. neglectus and P. papatasi) and Sergentomyia minuta were collected in a dog shelter of southern Italy, where CanL is endemic, and examined for Leishmania DNA. In total, 32 out of 56 of Phlebotomus spp. insects (57.1%) were found positive for L. infantum DNA by quantitative PCR (qPCR), with a mean parasite load of 1.9 × 103 promastigotes/ml among 23 positive P. perniciosus and 2.1 × 103 promastigotes/ml among five positive P. neglectus. Four P. papatasi, a species known to be refractory to L. infantum development, were also found positive. Among 216 S. minuta specimens examined, 25 (11.6%) scored positive for Leishmania tarentolae by conventional nested PCR; two (16.7%) of them were also positive for lizard blood, which is in agreement with the feeding preference of this phlebotomine species. Nine S. minuta (4.2%) were positive for L. infantum by qPCR, with a mean parasite load of 1.62 × 102 promastigotes/ml. The detection of L. infantum DNA in S. minuta may suggest that this species could acquire the protozoan, occasionally feeding on infected dogs. Further investigations need to clarify the potential role that S. minuta may have in the transmission of L. infantum to receptive mammal hosts.

Concepts: Polymerase chain reaction, Molecular biology, Real-time polymerase chain reaction, Leishmania, Flies, Phlebotominae, Phlebotomus, Lutzomyia


In Argentina, American Cutaneous Leishmaniasis (ACL) extends up to 29°S in the phytogeographic regions of the Yungas (west), Chaco (center) and Paranaense (east). Since the Phlebotominae vectors of this disease in the western Chaco (dry Chaco) are unknown, in the present work, we studied the natural infection in Phlebotominae by PCR-ERFLP and Dot blot in order to incriminate these organisms as potential vectors. Captures with CDC-type traps were performed monthly in the domicile, the peridomicile and the forest in the Municipio Misión Nueva Pompeya, Chaco, Argentina, in two sites with human cases of ACL: Los Pozos (24°54’S, 61°22'W) and Fortín Arenales (24°58’S, 61°21'W), from November 2006 to December 2007. A total of 1702 Phlebotominae were captured: Mygonemyia migonei (83.8%), cortelezzii complex (11.1%), Mycropigomyia peresi (3.3%), Mycropygomy quinquefer (1.2%), Pintomyia torresi (0.2%) and Nyssomyia neivai (0.2%). Although no significant differences were found in species diversity, there were significant differences in abundance between both sites studied. A total of 80 phlebotomine females were analyzed: 50 of the cortelezzii complex and 30 My. migonei. No intestinal flagellates were observed by light microscopy. Two pools of 10 individuals of the cortelezzii complex of the peridomicile and forest of Fortín Arenales were reactive by PCR and Dot blot for Leishmania (Viannia) braziliensis. In Argentina, Evandromyia cortelezzii has been incriminated as a likely vector of ACL because of its abundance in areas of sporadic outbreaks. In the present work, Ev. cortelezzii females were found naturally infected, thus reinforcing the hypothesis that the members of the cortelezzii complex act as vectors of the disease.

Concepts: Infection, Leishmaniasis, Cutaneous leishmaniasis, Leishmania, Leishmania braziliensis, Phlebotominae, Phlebotomus, Lutzomyia