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Asian Pac J Trop Med. 2013 Oct;6(10):792-7. doi: 10.1016/S1995-7645(13)60140-6.

Molecular characterization of sandflies and Leishmania detection in main vector of zoonotic cutaneous leishmaniasis in Abarkouh district of Yazd province, Iran.

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National Institute Of Health Research, Isfahan Health Research Station, Iran.



To assess molecular characterization, distribution, seasonal activities of sandfly species and Leishmania parasites infecting them for this zoonotic cutaneous leishmaniasis focus.


The collections were carried out in 2009-2011 using CDC traps, Sticky Papers and manual aspirator in and around the villages in Abarkouh district. Individual sandflies were characterized by PCR amplification and sequencing of fragments of their mitochondrial cytochrome b gene. Leishmania parasite infections within sandflies were performed by targeting Cyt b, ITS-rDNA, k-DNA and microsatellite genes.


The PCR assays detected only Leishmania major (L. major). All infections (30) were found in the abundant and widespread vector Phlebotomus papatasi (P. papatasi). Small numbers of other sandfly species were also screened for infections, but none was found. Sergentomyia sintoni and P. papatasi were the predominant members in all locations of this district and in all habitats throughout the trapping season. Only five other sandfly species were found, namely Phlebotomus ansari, Phlebotomus caucasicus, Phlebotomus sergenti, Sergentomyia dentata and Sergentomyia merviney.


In the current survey, the only infections detected are of L. major in females of P. papatasi (30 out of 190). The rates of infection of P. papatasi by L. major are not significantly different in compare with other locations in Iran with no diversity of parasite strains. Zoonotic cutaneous leishmaniasis may have emerged only recently in Abarkouh district, and the reason may well be the instability of the transmission cycles there.


Central Iran; Leishmania major; Phlebotomus papatasi; Sandfly; Zoonotic cutaneous leishmaniasis

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