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Avian malaria on Madagascar: bird hosts and putative vector mosquitoes of different Plasmodium lineages

Abstract : BACKGROUND: Avian malaria occurs almost worldwide and is caused by Haemosporida parasites (Plasmodium, Haemoproteus and Leucocytozoon). Vectors such as mosquitoes, hippoboscid flies or biting midges are required for the transmission of these parasites. There are few studies about avian malaria parasites on Madagascar but none about suitable vectors. METHODS: To identify vectors of avian Plasmodium parasites on Madagascar, we examined head, thorax and abdomen of 418 mosquitoes from at least 18 species using a nested PCR method to amplify a 524 bp fragment of the haemosporidian mitochondrial cytochrome b gene. Sequences obtained were then compared with a large dataset of haemosporidian sequences detected in 45 different bird species (n = 686) from the same area in the Maromizaha rainforest. RESULTS: Twenty-one mosquitoes tested positive for avian malaria parasites. Haemoproteus DNA was found in nine mosquitoes (2.15%) while Plasmodium DNA was found in 12 mosquitoes (2.87%). Seven distinct lineages were identified among the Plasmodium DNA samples. Some lineages were also found in the examined bird samples: Plasmodium sp. WA46 (EU810628.1) in the Madagascar bulbul, Plasmodium sp. mosquito 132 (AB308050.1) in 15 bird species belonging to eight families, Plasmodium sp. PV12 (GQ150194.1) in eleven bird species belonging to eight families and Plasmodium sp. P31 (DQ839060.1) was found in three weaver bird species. CONCLUSION: This study provides the first insight into avian malaria transmission in the Maromizaha rainforest in eastern Madagascar. Five Haemoproteus lineages and seven Plasmodium lineages were detected in the examined mosquitoes. Complete life-cycles for the specialist lineages WA46 and P31 and for the generalist lineages mosquito132 and PV12 of Plasmodium are proposed. In addition, we have identified for the first time Anopheles mascarensis and Uranotaenia spp. as vectors for avian malaria and offer the first description of vector mosquitoes for avian malaria in Madagascar.
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Sandrine Schmid, Anke Dinkel, Ute Mackenstedt, Michaël Tantely, Fano Randrianambinintsoa, et al.. Avian malaria on Madagascar: bird hosts and putative vector mosquitoes of different Plasmodium lineages. Parasites and Vectors, BioMed Central, 2017, 10 (1), pp.6. ⟨10.1186/s13071-016-1939-x⟩. ⟨pasteur-01649182⟩

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