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      Molecular Detection of Leishmania infantum in Naturally Infected Phlebotomus perfiliewi transcaucasicus in Bilesavar District, Northwestern Iran


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          Visceral leishmaniasis is caused by Leishmania infantum, transmitted to humans by bites of phlebotomine sand flies and is one of the most important public health problems in Iran. To identify the vector(s), an investigation was carried out in Bilesavar District, one of the important foci of the disease in Ardebil Province in northwestern Iran, during July–September 2008.


          Using sticky papers, 2,110 sand flies were collected from indoors (bedroom, guestroom, toilet and stable) and outdoors (wall cracks, crevices and animal burrows) and identified morphologically. Species-specific amplification of promastigotes revealed specific PCR products of L. infantum DNA.


          Six sand fly species were found in the district, including: Phlebotomus perfiliewi transcaucasicus, P. papatasi, P. tobbi, P. sergenti, Sergentomyia dentata and S. sintoni. Phlebotomus perfiliewi transcaucasicus was the dominant species of the genus Phlebotomus (62.8%). Of 270 female dissected P. perfiliewi transcuacasicus, 4 (1.5%) were found naturally infected with promastigotes.


          Based on natural infections of P. perfiliewi transcaucasicus with L. infantum and the fact that it was the only species found infected with L. infantum, it seems, this sand fly could be the principal vector of visceral leishmaniasis in the region.

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          Most cited references38

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          Phlebotomine vectors of the leishmaniases: a review.

          R Killick (1989)
          An account is given of work published during the past 10 years incriminating species of phlebotomine sandflies as vectors of Leishmania species which infect man. An assessment is made of the degrees of certainty of the vectorial roles of eighty-one species and subspecies of sandflies (thirty-seven Old World and forty-four New World) in the transmission of twenty-nine leishmanial parasites of mammals. At least one species of sandfly is considered to be a proven vector of each of ten parasites. Of the eighty-one sandfly taxa, evidence is judged to be sufficient to incriminate nineteen as proven vectors (eleven Phlebotomus species and eight Lutzomyia species or subspecies) and evidence for a further fourteen (nine Phlebotomus species and five Lutzomyia species or subspecies) is considered to be strong. The suggested criteria for incrimination of a vector are anthropophily and common infection with the same leishmanial parasite as that found in man in the same place. More weight should be given to natural infections persisting after the digestion of a bloodmeal than those in the presence of blood. Supporting evidence is a concordance in the distribution of the fly and the disease in man, proof that the fly feeds regularly on the reservoir host, a flourishing development of the parasite in infected flies and the experimental transmission of the parasite by the bite of the fly.
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            Insect vectors of Leishmania: distribution, physiology and their control.

            Leishmaniasis is a deadly vector-borne disease that causes significant morbidity and mortality in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Mediterranean regions. The causative agent of leishmaniasis is transmitted from man to man by a tiny insect called sandfly. Approximately, 600 species of sandflies are known but only 10% of these act as disease vectors. Further, only 30 species of these are important from public health point. Fauna of Indian sub-zone is represented by 46 species, of these, 11 belong to Phlebotomine species and 35 to Sergentomyia species. Phlebotomus argentipes is the proven vector of kala-azar or visceral leishmaniasis in India. This review gives an insight into the insect vectors of human leishmaniasis, their geographical distribution, recent taxonomic classification, habitat, and different control measures including indoor residual spraying (IRS), insecticide-treated bednets (ITNs), environmental management, biological control, and emerging resistance to DDT. Role of satellite remote sensing for early prediction of the disease by identifying the sandflygenic conditions cannot be undermined. The article also underlines the importance of synthetic pheromones which can be used in near future for the control of these vectors.
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              Phlebotomus (Paraphlebotomus) alexandri: a probable vector of Leishmania infantum in Iran.

              The incidence of human visceral leishmaniasis (VL) caused by Leishmania infantum, which is endemic in several parts of Iran, has recently increased in the Nourabad-Mamassani district of Fars province, in the south of the country. Between 2003 and 2005, 12,688 sandflies were caught in this focus, using CDC miniature light traps, sticky traps and aspirators, in an attempt to identify the main vector of L. infantum. When 120 of the parous, female Phlebotomus (Paraphlebotomus) alexandri caught were individually checked for Leishmania infection, in an assay based on PCR and kinetoplast minicircle primers (LINR4 and LIN17), five (4.2%) of the flies were found to be infected with L. infantum. Thirty-nine (32.5%) of the 120 blood-fed Ph. alexandri checked in an ELISA were found positive for human blood. Since Ph. alexandri was the third-most common species caught (representing over 17% of the total catch), was clearly anthropophilic, and was not infrequently infected with L. infantum, it is probably an important vector in the Nourabad-Mamassani focus. Although other sandfly species have been found naturally infected with promastigotes in Iran, Ph. alexandri is the first that has been proven to harbour L. infantum in the country.

                Author and article information

                Iran J Arthropod Borne Dis
                Iran J Arthropod Borne Dis
                Iranian Journal of Arthropod-borne Diseases
                Tehran University of Medical Sciences
                30 June 2011
                : 5
                : 1
                : 20-27
                [1 ]Department of Medical Entomology and Vector Control, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Iran
                [2 ]Emergency Management Center (EMC) Ministry of Health and Medical Education, Iran
                [3 ]Department of Parasitology and Mycology, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Iran
                [4 ]Health Center of Bilesavar, Ardebil Province, Iran
                Author notes
                [* ]Corresponding author: Dr Yavar Rassi, E-mail: rassiy@ 123456sina.tums.ac.ir
                Copyright © Iranian Society of Medical Entomology & Tehran University of Medical Sciences

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial 3.0 License (CC BY-NC 3.0), which allows users to read, copy, distribute and make derivative works for non-commercial purposes from the material, as long as the author of the original work is cited properly.

                : 16 August 2010
                : 19 February 2011
                Original Article

                Infectious disease & Microbiology
                phlebotomus perfiliewi transcuacasicus,nested pcr,leishmania infantum,iran


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