Temporal dynamics and Leishmania infantum infection prevalence of Phlebotomus perniciosus (Diptera, Phlebotominae) in highly endemic areas of visceral leishmaniasis in Tunisia

Abstract : Phlebotomus perniciosus is one of the major vectors of Leishmania infantum in the Mediter-ranean basin. The aim of this work was (i) to provide information about abundance and temporal dynamics of this Larroussius species in a hot spot area of visceral leishmaniasis in Tunisia, (ii) to detect L. infantum DNA in wild caught female sandflies and (iii) to measure Phlebotomus perniciosus infection rate throughout the active season. Sandflies were collected monthly during one year using CDC miniature light-traps in house and in animal shelters. Male specimens were identified at species level according to morphological characters. Female specimens were conserved individually for molecular study. Leishmania infection was tested by kinetoplast DNA real-time PCR and ITS-1 PCR-sequencing. Subsequent sandfly species identification of infected specimens was done by mitochondrial cyto-chrome b sequencing. In one year period, overall 4,441 specimens (2230 males and 2211 females) were collected. Sandfly activity started in end-April and ended in early-November. Mean sandfly density in house was significantly lower than in animal shelters (51 ± 50 versus 504 ± 460 sandflies /CDC night, p<0.05). However, a higher proportion of females was found in house (58.4% versus 49.2%, p<0.001). Based on species identification of male specimens, Phlebotomus perniciosus was the dominant species (56% of the whole male sandfly fauna, p<0.0001). It showed two peaks of density in the active season, a sharp one in early May and a higher long lasting one from end-July to end-September. DNA was extracted from 190 female specimens randomly sampled and corresponding to 96 specimens from house and 94 from animal shelters. Twenty four female sandfly were infected by Leishmania infantum. All infected specimens were recognized as Phlebotomus perniciosus. Leishmania infantum infection rate in female sandflies was 2.3 fold higher in house than in animal shelters (17.7% versus 7.4%, p<0.05). In house, estimated number of infected specimens was the highest at the end of the active season. Abundance, dynamics of density and Leishmania infantum infection prevalence of Phlebotomus perniciosus in Tunisian hot spot PLOS ONE | https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.
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PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2017, 12 (9), pp.e0184700. 〈10.1371/journal.pone.0184700〉
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Meriem Benabid, Jamila Ghrab, Adel Rhim, Rania Ben-Romdhane, Karim Aoun, et al.. Temporal dynamics and Leishmania infantum infection prevalence of Phlebotomus perniciosus (Diptera, Phlebotominae) in highly endemic areas of visceral leishmaniasis in Tunisia. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2017, 12 (9), pp.e0184700. 〈10.1371/journal.pone.0184700〉. 〈pasteur-01635387〉

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