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Exp Parasitol. 2010 Feb;124(2):232-7. doi: 10.1016/j.exppara.2009.10.004. Epub 2009 Oct 23.

Detection, identification and molecular typing of Leishmania major in Phlebotomus papatasi from a focus of zoonotic cutaneous leishmaniasis in central of Iran.

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Molecular Systematics Laboratory, Pasteur Institute of Iran, 69 Pasteur Ave, Tehran, Iran.


Leishmania major is the causative agent and Phlebotomus papatasi is the main vector of rural zoonotic cutaneous leishmaniasis (ZCL) in Iran and elsewhere. Nested PCR protocols were used to amplify a region of the ribosomal RNA amplicon of Leishmania (ITS1-5.8S rRNA gene) in female P. papatasi. In the current investigation, L. major was found in Natanz, Isfahan province in centre of Iran, in a focus of rural ZCL. Ten (1.8%) out of 549 female P. papatasi was found to be infected with L. major based on the PCR detection and sequencing of parasite ITS-rDNA. Nine (1.8%) out of 498 female P. papatasi infected with L. major came from animal shelters, inside houses and yards. And one (1.9%) out of 51 female P. papatasi infected with L. major came from gerbil borrows. Infection rates were higher for females containing red blood meals, large eggs (semi-mature and mature) than for those without either blood meals or eggs. From the 10 infections detected three different haplotypes of L. major were identified. Two haplotypes were found to be novel. The other haplotypes of L. major was found to be identical to that of isolates of L. major from Iran and in elsewhere using GenBank data. Comparisons of infection rates between habitats will be inaccurate when the proportions of blood-fed and gravid flies differ among sandfly samples.

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