Experimental Infection and Transmission of Leishmania major by Laboratory-Reared Phlebotomus bergeroti Parrot

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  • Research Sciences Department, U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No. 3, Cairo, Egypt

The ability of colony-reared Phlebotomus bergeroti Parrot to successfully acquire and transmit Leishmania major (strain IPAP/EG 89/SI-177) was demonstrated in the laboratory. Female P. bergeroti were fed naturally on infected mice and artificially on infected blood suspension using a chick-skin membrane apparatus. Groups of sand flies, either infected on mice or by membrane feeding, were dissected and examined using light microscopy at 2–6, 8, 10, and 11 days postfeeding. Heavy promastigote infection of the thoracic and abdominal midgut was observed in 10% (2 of 20) of the naturally infected flies. Promastigote maturation was observed in 87% (81 of 93) of the artificially infected sand flies, with promastigotes observed in the cibarium and mouthparts at five days postinfection, and infective metacyclic stage promastigotes observed at eight days postinfection. Ten days postinfection, 31% (10 of 32) of the remaining artificially infected sand flies refed on an uninfected BALB/c mouse. Twenty-eight days following exposure to the infective sand flies, leishmanial lesions were observed on the pads of the mouse's front feet. The development of lesions on mouse foot pads clearly suggests the potential of P. bergeroti to serve as a vector for L. major.