First Isolations of Arboviruses from Phlebotomine Sand Flies in West Africa

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  • Laboratoire de Zoologie Medicale, ORSTOM, Institut Pasteur, Departement de Biologie Animale, Universite Cheikh Anta Diop, Dakar, Senegal
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For the first time in West Africa, arboviruses were isolated from phlebotomine sand fly pools. One strain of Chandipura virus (a Vesiculovirus), four strains of Saboya virus (a Flavivirus), and one strain of a not yet identified virus were isolated. Three hundred twenty-two pools were established from a population of 33,917 sand flies caught in CO2 light traps in the Ferlo Sahelian region of Senegal from November 1991 to December 1992. This is the first isolation of Chandipura virus from any arthropod in Africa. Saboya virus has already been isolated from small rodents in Senegal; thus, its transmission cycle probably involves rodentophilic sand flies. No strain of Rift Valley fever phlebovirus, which caused an epizootic in this region in 1987, was isolated. During the same time at the same site, 11 sand fly species were identified from 4,191 specimens caught on sticky traps, including Phlebotomus duboscqi, a leishmaniasis vector.