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Parasite. 2013;20:26. doi: 10.1051/parasite/2013026. Epub 2013 Aug 29.

Transmission of pathogens by Stomoxys flies (Diptera, Muscidae): a review.

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Centre d'Écologie Fonctionnelle et Évolutive (UMR 5175), Université Montpellier 3, Route de Mende, 34199 Montpellier Cedex 5, France.


Stomoxys flies are mechanical vectors of pathogens present in the blood and skin of their animal hosts, especially livestock, but occasionally humans. In livestock, their direct effects are disturbance, skin lesions, reduction of food intake, stress, blood loss, and a global immunosuppressive effect. They also induce the gathering of animals for mutual protection; meanwhile they favor development of pathogens in the hosts and their transmission. Their indirect effect is the mechanical transmission of pathogens. In case of interrupted feeding, Stomoxys can re-start their blood meal on another host. When injecting saliva prior to blood-sucking, they can inoculate some infected blood remaining on their mouthparts. Beside this immediate transmission, it was observed that Stomoxys may keep some blood in their crop, which offers a friendly environment for pathogens that could be regurgitated during the next blood meal; thus a delayed transmission by Stomoxys seems possible. Such a mechanism has a considerable epidemiological impact since it allows inter-herd transmission of pathogens. Equine infectious anemia, African swine fever, West Nile, and Rift Valley viruses are known to be transmitted by Stomoxys, while others are suspected. Rickettsia (Anaplasma, Coxiella), other bacteria and parasites (Trypanosoma spp., Besnoitia spp.) are also transmitted by Stomoxys. Finally, Stomoxys was also found to act as an intermediate host of the helminth Habronema microstoma and may be involved in the transmission of some Onchocerca and Dirofilaria species. Being cosmopolite, Stomoxys calcitrans might have a worldwide and greater impact than previously thought on animal and human pathogen transmission.

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