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Molecular identification of Lutzomyia migonei (Diptera: Psychodidae) as a potential vector for Leishmania infantum (Kinetoplastida: Trypanosomatidae)

Rodrigues, Ana Caroline Moura, Melo, Luciana Magalhães, Magalhães, Rafaela Damasceno, de Moraes, Nélio Batista, de Souza Júnior, Antônio Domingos, Bevilaqua, Claudia Maria Leal
Veterinary parasitology 2016 v.220 pp. 28-32
Leishmania braziliensis, Leishmania infantum, Lutzomyia longipalpis, air, correlation, females, humidity, males, nucleotide sequences, parasite load, parasites, quantitative polymerase chain reaction, rain, temperature, visceral leishmaniasis, wet season, Brazil
Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) in Brazil is caused by the protozoan Leishmania infantum. This parasite is transmitted by the bite of a female sand fly. The most important sand fly species in VL transmission is Lutzomyia longipalpis. In Fortaleza, the capital of Ceará State, Brazil, the simultaneous occurrence of Lutzomyia migonei and L. longipalpis was detected in localities where VL transmission is observed. The purpose of this study was to determine conclusively if L. migonei can be found naturally infected with L. infantum in key focus in Fortaleza. Using a CDC traps we performed phlebotomine capture during one year. External morphological features and qPCR targeting species-specific gene sequences of Lutzomyia species were used to identify the female phlebotomine sand flies. The molecular identification of the Leishmania species was performed using qPCR targeting species-specific gene sequences of L. infantum and Leishmania braziliensis. The males L. migonei abundance was higher in the rainy season. Humidity and rainfall positively correlated with males L. migonei abundance, while temperature showed a negative correlation. The correlation between the density of L. migonei female with rainfall, relative air humidity, and temperature were not statistically significant. According to the molecular data produced by qPCR amplifications, three positive sand flies were identified as L. longipalpis, and one was identified as L. migonei. The infection rate was 0.35% and 0.18%, respectively. The parasite load was 32,492±2572 L. infantum in L. migonei while the L. longipalpis had parasite loads between 2,444,964.6±116,000 and 6,287,130±124,277. Our findings confirm L. migonei as a potential vector of VL in Fortaleza at a molecular level.