Phlebotomine sand fly (Diptera: Psychodidae) seasonal distribution and infection rates in a defined focus of Leishmania tropica.

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  • 1 U.S. Army Medical Research Unit, Nairobi, Kenya.

A two-year study was conducted of phlebotomine sand fly fauna in a defined focus of Leishmania tropica. A total of 17,947 sand flies representing 10 species were collected from the location. Phlebotomus guggisbergi, a vector of L. tropica in Kenya, was the most prevalent species through the entire period, representing about 80% of the total catch. There was marked seasonal fluctuation in the populations of the three most common species, with highest population levels reached in December and lowest levels reached in July and August. Leishmania-like infections were encountered in 489 P. guggisbergi. No flagellate infections were observed in any other species of sand fly. Although infected P. guggisbergi were collected during each month of the year, the percent parous infected flies was highest (27.5%) during the November through January time period. These data show that the greatest risk of transmission to humans at this focus occurs during December, when the vector is prevalent and infections are common.

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