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Antibody (IgG) responses to the saliva of Phlebotomus argentipes were investigated using serum samples from regions of India endemic and non-endemic for visceral leishmaniasis (VL). By pre-adsorbing the sera against the saliva of the competing human-biting but non-VL vector P. papatasi, we significantly improved the specificity of a P. argentipes saliva enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Using this method, we observed a statistically significant correlation between antibodies to P. argenitpes saliva and the average indoor density of female sand flies. Additionally, the method was able to detect recent changes in vector exposure when sera from VL patients were assayed before, during, and after hospitalization and protected from sand fly bites under untreated bed nets. Collectively, these results highlight the utility of antibodies to P. argentipes saliva as an important tool to evaluate VL vector control programs.
Financial support: This study was supported by the Wellcome Trust, UK (advanced training fellowship, project WT078223MA to Matthew E. Rogers), the Indian Council of Medical Research (junior fellowship to Rajiv Kumar), the Czech Republic Ministry of Education (LC 06009 and MSM0021620828), and the European Union (Project 015374, KALANET).
Authors' addresses: Meredith F. Clements, Albert Picado, and Clive Davies, Department of Disease Vector Biology and Control, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, United Kingdom, E-mail: email@example.com. Kamlesh Gidwani, Rajiv Kumar, and Shyam Sundar, Kala-azar Medical Research Center, Banaras Hindu University, Varanasi, India, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Jitka Hostomska, Vera Volfova, and Petr Volf, Department of Parasitology, Charles University, Prague, Czech Republic, E-mail: email@example.com. Diwakar S. Dinesh, Vijay Kumar, and Pradeep Das, Rajendra Memorial Research Institute of Medical Sciences (Indian Council of Medical Research), Patna, Bihar, India, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Ingrid Müller and Matthew E. Rogers, Division of Investigative Science, Department of Immunology, Imperial College of Science, Technology and Medicine, St. Mary's Campus, London, United Kingdom, E-mail: email@example.com. Gordon Hamilton, Institute of Science and Technology in Medicine, Keele University, Keele, United Kingdom, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org. Marleen Boelaert, Unit of Epidemiology and Disease Control, Institute of Tropical Medicine, Antwerp, Belgium, E-mail: email@example.com. Murari Das and Suman Rijal, BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences, Dharan, Nepal, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.