Phlebotomus and Carrión's Disease

II. Transmission Experiments with Wild Sandflies

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  • Departmento de Entomología Médica, Instituto Nacional de Higiene y Salud Pública, Lima, Peru


Transmission experiments were undertaken in which wild sandflies, Phlebotomus verrucarum, were fed on rhesus monkeys. The sandflies were caught in the verruga zone, brought to Lima, placed in feeding-cages and applied to the bellies of the monkeys. The technique permits voluntary and natural feeding of the sandflies.

In one series, five out of eight monkeys became infected with Bartonella bacilliformis. No skin lesions were produced. Infection was demonstrated by blood cultures, subsequent tests of such cultures in monkeys, and in two instances by immunity tests. While other mechanisms of transmission are theoretically possible, the conclusion is believed warranted that in these experiments transmission occurred by the bites of the sandflies.

Several species of South American monkeys were infected by inoculation of cultures. Nodules were produced from which B. bacilliformis was recovered in culture, though blood cultures failed.

The infection-rate of wild sandflies is discussed.