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Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2007 Apr;101(4):372-7. Epub 2006 Oct 17.

Natural infection of Phlebotomus (Larroussius) langeroni (Diptera: Psychodidae) with Leishmania infantum in Tunisia.

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  • 1Laboratoire d'Epidémiologie et Ecologie Parasitaire, Institut Pasteur de Tunis, BP 74, 1002 Tunis Belvédère, Tunisia.


Phlebotomine sand flies were captured from an active transmission focus of sporadic cutaneous leishmaniasis, caused by Leishmania infantum, in El Kef region, northern Tunisia. Both Phlebotomus perniciosus and P. langeroni were found. Phlebotomus langeroni females showed a statistically significant intradomiciliary dominance (P<0.01 for the 2003 and 2004 seasons) when compared to animal shelters. During the 2003 season, dissection of collected female specimens showed the presence of flagellates within the digestive tracts of two P. perniciosus among 1086 observed, but none in 232 P. langeroni. Amplification of kinetoplast minicircles of Leishmania parasites was applied to DNA samples extracted from 298 frozen females including 249 P. perniciosus, 36 P. langeroni, 5 P. longicuspis and 8 P. perfiliewi and revealed by radioactive probe hybridization. Two P. langeroni females showed a signal of the size expected for L. infantum (800bp) indicating infection with these parasites. However, this PCR-hybridization method failed to identify any positive P. perniciosus females in pools of specimens. These results show for the first time the natural infection of P. langeroni with L. infantum in Tunisia, and support the existence of different L. infantum transmission cycles in Tunisia, with a potential role for P. langeroni as a vector.

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