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Journal: Journal of medical entomology


West Nile virus (WNV) and Flanders virus (FLAV) co-occur in regions of North America. Because both viruses are maintained in a transmission cycle involving Culex mosquitoes and birds, screening mosquitoes for FLAV has been suggested as an enhancement to WNV surveillance and epidemic prediction. Using samples collected in 2010 and 2012 in Chicago, IL, USA, we demonstrate the presence of FLAV in four out of 287 (1.4%) Culex pools. We estimated minimum infection rates for WNV and FLAV to be 5.66 and 1.22 in 2010 and 8.74 and 0.61 in 2012, respectively. FLAV occurred 1 and 3 wk prior to the peak of WNV transmission in 2010 and 2012, respectively. FLAV sequences from Chicago were genetically diverse and phylogenetically representative of lineage A viruses from across the United States.

Concepts: United States, Mosquito, Ribavirin, Viruses, Dengue fever, Mosquito control, West Nile virus, DEET


Leishmaniasis is a one of the vector-borne diseases and has two clinical forms in Turkey: cutaneous and visceral. The aim of this study was to determine the sand fly fauna in Afyon and Nigde provinces where endemic foci of cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) in Turkey. In Afyon, 2,259 sand flies were collected in 73 locations in August 2009 and August 2010, using CDC light traps. In total, eight Phlebotomus species were identified; Phlebotomus halepensis (47.41%), Phlebotomus papatasi (31.42%), Phlebotomus neglectus/syriacus (9.38%), Phlebotomus balcanicus (7.48%), Phlebotomus simici (2.12%), Phlebotomus perfiliewi (1.90%), Phlebotomus sergenti (0.08%), Phlebotomus similis (0.13%), and Sergentomyia dentata (0.04%). A total of 418 sand fly specimens were caught by CDC light traps in 40 stations in Nigde in September 2009 and September 2010. In total, seven Phlebotomus species were identified; P. halepensis (74.16%), P. simici (13.87%), P. papatasi (3.82%), P. neglectus/syriacus (2.87%), P. balcanicus (2.63%), P. sergenti (2.39%), and Phlebotomus tobbi (0.23%). Collected sand flies were examined by microscope, and no promastigotes were found in their midguts. We categorized and pooled female specimens (1,031 females, 73 pools of 2-33 individuals). Leishmania species-specific ITS1 real-time PCR assay was performed for detection and identification of parasites. We detected 6 of the 73 pools with Leishmania tropica (Ross, 1903), (Trypanosomatidae). In conclusion, P. halepensis was found to be dominant species in both areas. We are in opinion that our findings support P. halepensis vectorial role for L. tropica in nature and it could be responsible for the transmission of L. tropica in these endemic areas.

Concepts: Polymerase chain reaction, Leishmaniasis, Cutaneous leishmaniasis, Leishmania, Fly, Phlebotominae, Phlebotomus, Lutzomyia


This is the first complete assessment of the ectoparasite fauna on phyllostomid bats in a shaded coffee plantation in Mexico. The study was carried out at Finca San Carlos, in the municipality of Tapachula, southeastern Chiapas, Mexico. The bats were captured over three consecutive nights every month, from December 2005 to November 2006, using four mist nets. We captured 192 phyllostomid bats, representing 18 species, upon which 1,971 ectoparasites, belonging to 11 families and 65 species, were found. We found that 160 of the 192 captured bats were hosts to ectoparasites, giving an infestation prevalence of 83.3%. Of the 65 ectoparasitic species, 14 were classified as monoxenous and 17 as stenoxenous. More ectoparasites were recorded in the dry season (n = 1,439) than the wet season (n = 532), and we recorded some families of ectoparasite on particular areas of the bat body. An ordination of bat species, based on their ectoparasitic species community structure, formed groups at the subfamily level or lower taxonomic categories. We suggest that the close ectoparasite-host relationships could be examined as an additional tool to elucidate the taxonomic relationships between the hosts.

Concepts: Evolution, Species, Mammal, Bat, Taxonomic rank, Biological classification, Flying and gliding animals, Eocene


We report a case of urinary myiasis occurring in a 60-yr-old Iranian male patient with urinary tract problems and a history of travel to Thailand who was referred to Shafagh Medical Laboratory in Tehran (Iran). Larvae excreted in the patient’s urine were confirmed by morphological identification key and DNA barcoding to belong to the species Megaselia scalaris Loew, which is known as the scuttle fly. Based on the patient’s history, he was infected with M. scalaris in Thailand. To the best of our knowledge, this is the first report of urinary myiasis caused by M. scalaris in Thailand.

Concepts: Insect, DNA barcoding, Identification, Iran, Flies, Megaselia scalaris


Japanese encephalitis virus (JEV) is the most frequent cause of mosquito-borne encephalitis in Asian countries. Several culicine species are potential vectors. The primary JEV vectors feed mainly on cows (a dead-end host for JEV), pigs (an amplifying host), and, occasionally, humans (a dead-end host). It is essential to determine blood-feeding patterns to understand the transmission cycle of the disease. Here we review blood-feeding characteristics of the primary JEV vectors Culex tritaeniorhynchus, Culex vishnui, and Culex gelidus based on experimental works and field surveys conducted in Asian countries. Several studies showed that these JEV vectors have an innate preference for cows; however, the former two species often showed higher rates of blood-feeding on pigs than on cows, probably because pigs are more abundant than cows. On the other hand, the latter species Cx. gelidus fed mostly on cows. Thus, the first two species showed higher plasticity to compromise host availability than the last. By reviewing the available articles and based on our relevant studies, it may be deduced that JEV transmission cannot be reduced by zooprophylaxis. We emphasize the need of keeping cows away from the human residences to dampen the human risk of JEV. These primary JEV vector species exhibit pre-biting resting. The adaptive significance of this behavior remains to be unexplored, but it may have a function to avoid defensive attack of host animals. Application of recent quantitative analysis of gene expression in this phase may enable us to come up with novel vector control strategies.

Concepts: Gene, Human, Lyme disease, Mammal, Encephalitis, Tsetse fly, Culex tritaeniorhynchus, Japanese encephalitis


Determination of the residual activity of insecticides is an essential component in the selection of an appropriate insecticide for indoor residual spraying operations. This report presents the results of a laboratory study to evaluate the residual bio-efficacy of four insecticides sprayed on the most common house-wall surfaces that occur in Egypt (wood, mud, and cement) against Phlebotomus papatasi (Scopoli, 1786) (Diptera: Psychodidae) and Culex pipiens Linnaeus, 1758 (Diptera: Culicidae). In total, 28,050 P. papatasi females and 31,275 Cx. pipiens females were subjected to the WHO cone bioassay. Effective and extended control (≥80% mortality) was produced by lambda-cyhalothrin on indoor wood and cement surfaces. Lambda-cyhalothrin effectively controlled (>80% mortality) P. papatasi and Cx. pipiens for 10 and 12 wk postspray on wood surfaces, respectively. Deltamethrin effectively controlled Cx. pipiens for 8 wk on indoor wood, mud, and cement surfaces. Indoor and outdoor-kept surfaces treated with permethrin and malathion provided negligible efficacy against P. papatasi and Cx. pipiens. Phlebotomus papatasi was better able to survive bioassay exposure than Cx. pipiens against all insecticides investigated. The role surfaces might play in inhibiting IRS-based vector control endeavors in rural areas in developing countries was highlighted in this study. The current insecticide labeling system that includes both sand flies with mosquitoes under the same dosage category should be revised periodically.


The following study investigates louse parasitism of black-tailed prairie dogs (Cynomys ludovicianus (Ord, Rodentia: Sciuridae)) on 20 plots at 13 colonies in the short-grass prairie of New Mexico, USA, June-August, 2011-2012. Among 124 lice collected from 537 prairie dogs during 1,207 sampling events in which anesthetized animals were combed for ectoparasites, all of the lice were identified as Linognathoides cynomyis (Kim, Phthiraptera: Polyplacidae). Data were analyzed under an information-theoretic approach to identify factors predicting louse parasitism. Lice were most prevalent on plots with high densities of prairie dogs. At the scale of hosts, lice were most abundant on prairie dogs in poor body condition (with low mass:foot ratios) and prairie dogs harboring large numbers of fleas (Siphonaptera, mostly Oropsylla hirsuta (Baker, Siphonaptera: Ceratophyllidae) and Pulex simulans (Baker,Siphonaptera: Pulicidae)). Lice have been implicated as supplemental vectors of the primarily flea-borne bacterium Yersinia pestis (Yersin, Enterobacteriales: Yersiniaceae), a re-emerging pathogen that causes sylvatic plague in prairie dog populations. Coparasitism by lice and fleas, as found herein, might enhance plague transmission. L. cynomyis deserves attention in this context.


The Simulium aureum group (Diptera: Simuliidae), also known as subgenus Eusimulium Roubaud, is a monophyletic, Holarctic taxon of bird-feeding black flies with a reduced chromosome number of two and remarkably similar external structure in all life stages. We analyzed the banding patterns of the polytene chromosomes to understand the composition of this species group along the northern coast of the Black Sea where two little-known nominal species have their type localities. Our analyses link the names Simulium krymense (Rubtsov) and Simulium maritimum (Rubtsov) with unique chromosomal characters, indicate that both are male chiasmate, and reveal the presence of Simulium angustipes Edwards along the northern coast of the Black Sea for the first time. We show that S. krymense has a banding sequence most similar to the hypothesized ancestral form of the S. aureum group, and that the entire group is derived from within the Simulium vernum group, rendering the latter group and its encompassing subgenus, Nevermannia Enderlein, paraphyletic.


We provide a comprehensive and updated review on the effects of elevation and climatic factors on distribution of sand fly (Diptera: Psychodidae) vectors of cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) and visceral leishmaniasis (VL) across Pakistan. Our study was undertaken in view of the increasing risk of leishmaniasis, particularly resulting from climatic deviations and political instability in the region. Literature (published and unpublished) on suspected vectors of CL (Phlebotomus sergenti Parrot and Phlebotomus papatasi Scopoli) and VL (Phlebotomus major Yakimoff and Schokhor and Phlebotomus hindustanicus Theodor) was collected, sorted, and utilized in geospatial analysis. P. papatasi and P. sergenti co-occurred in majority of the referenced localities and were generally distributed toward the western and southern parts across a wide range of elevation, whereas P. major and P. hindustanicus were limited to high elevation in cool and humid northern areas of Pakistan. Conversely P. papatasi and P. sergenti exploited diverse ecological settings across the country, being particularly abundant in warm/hot and arid regions.

Concepts: Leishmaniasis, Cutaneous leishmaniasis, Leishmania, Flies, Phlebotomus


The recently described Lyme disease spirochete Borrelia mayonii is associated with human illness in the Upper Midwest of the United States. Experimental laboratory studies and field observations on natural infection indicate that B. mayonii is maintained by horizontal transmission between tick vectors and vertebrate reservoirs. While maintaining a colony of Ixodes scapularis Say (Acari: Ixodidae) ticks infected with the B. mayonii type strain (MN14-1420), we had an opportunity to examine whether infected females may pass this spirochete transovarially to their offspring. We found no evidence of B. mayonii infection in subsets of larvae originating from 18 infected I. scapularis females (grand total of 810 larvae tested), or in mice exposed to larval feeding.

Concepts: Infection, Lyme disease, Tick, Acari, Ixodes scapularis, Borrelia, Babesiosis, Ixodes