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First Report on Natural Infection of Phlebotomus sergenti with Leishmania tropica in a Classical Focus of Leishmania major in Tunisia

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  • 1 Laboratory of Medical Epidemiology, Institut Pasteur de Tunis (IPT), Tunis-Belvédère, Tunisia; University Tunis El Manar, Tunisia
  • | 2 Laboratory of Transmission, Control and Immunobiology of Infections (LTCII), LR11IPT02, Institut Pasteur de Tunis (IPT), Tunis-Belvédère, Tunisia
  • | 3 Faculty of Medicine of Tunis, University Tunis El Manar, Tunisia
  • | 4 Laboratoire de Parasitologie, Ecole Nationale de Médecine Vétérinaire de Sidi Thabet, Sidi Thabet, Tunisia
  • | 5 Pole Génomique-Plateforme Technique Institut Pasteur de Tunis (IPT), Tunis-Belvédère, Tunisia
  • | 6 Department of Family and Community Medicine, College of Medicine and Medical Sciences (CMMS), Arabian Gulf University (AGU), Manama, Bahraïn

In Tunisia, chronic cutaneous leishmaniasis due to Leishmania tropica is an important health problem. Its spreading has not been fully elucidated. Information on sandfly vectors, as well as their associated Leishmania species, is of paramount importance since vector dispersion is one of the major factors responsible for pathogen dissemination. Ninety-seven unfed females belonging to the genera Sergentomyia and Phlebotomus were collected between June and August 2015 using sticky paper traps. Polymerase chain reaction–restriction fragment length polymorphism analysis of the internal transcribed spacer 1and sequencing were used for Leishmania detection and identification. In total, 650 sandflies were captured and identified (380 males and 270 females). Ninety-seven unfed females were tested for the presence of Leishmania parasite DNA. Six Phlebotomus sergenti were found positive for L. tropica. This novel finding enhances the understanding of the cycle extension of L. tropica outside its original focus of Tataouine.

Author Notes

Address correspondence to Kaouther Jaouadi, Department of Medical Epidemiology, Institut Pasteur de Tunis.13, Place Pasteur, BP 74 1002, Tunis-Belvédère, Tunisia. E-mail: kaouther.jaouadi@pasteur.tn

Financial support: This study was supported by the Service of Medical Epidemiology and the Laboratory of Transmission, Control and Immunobiology of Infections (LR11IPT02), Institut Pasteur de Tunis.

Authors’ addresses: Kaouther Jaouadi, Amira Bennour, Sadok Salem, Sana Chaabane, Rihab Yazidi, Department of Medical Epidemiology, Institut Pasteur de Tunis, Tunis, Tunisia, and Laboratory of Transmission, Control and Immunobiology of Infections (LR11IPT02), Institut Pasteur de Tunis, Tunis, Tunisia, E-mails: kaouther.jaouadi@pasteur.tn, bennouramira@hotmail.fr, sadok-salem@live.fr, sana.chaabane@pasteur.tn, and rihabyazidi@yahoo.fr. Jihene Bettaieb, Department of Medical Epidemiology, Institut Pasteur de Tunis, Tunis, Tunisia, Laboratory of Transmission, Control and Immunobiology of Infections (LR11IPT02), Institut Pasteur de Tunis, Tunis, Tunisia, and Faculty of Medicine of Tunis, University Tunis El Manar, Tunis, Tunisia, E-mail: bettaiebjihene@yahoo.fr. Mohamed Ridha Rjeibi, Laboratoire de Parasitologie, École Nationale de Médecine Vétérinaire de Sidi Thabet, Sidi Thabet, Tunisia, E-mail: medridharjeibi@yahoo.fr. Neila Khabouchi, Pôle génomique-Plateforme technique Institut Pasteur de Tunis, Tunis, Tunisia, E-mail: neila.khabouchi@pasteur.tn. Adel Gharbi, Department of Medical Epidemiology, Institut Pasteur de Tunis, Tunis, Tunisia, E-mail: adel.gharbi@pasteur.tn. Afif Ben Salah, Department of Medical Epidemiology, Institut Pasteur de Tunis, Tunis, Tunisia, Laboratory of Transmission, Control and Immunobiology of Infections (LR11IPT02), Institut Pasteur de Tunis, Tunis, Tunisia, Faculty of Medicine of Tunis, University Tunis El Manar, Tunis, Tunisia, and Department of Family and Community Medicine, College of Medicine and Medical Sciences (CMMS), Arabian Gulf University (AGU), Manama, Bahraïn, E-mail: afif.bensalah@pasteur.tn.

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