First detection of Leishmania donovani in sand flies from Cameroon and its epidemiological implications

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Department or Administrative Unit

Biological Sciences

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A sound knowledge of the vector‐host‐parasite transmission dynamics is a prerequisite for adequate control measures of vector‐borne diseases. To achieve this, an entomological investigation was conducted in the cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) endemic focus of Mokolo District, northern Cameroon to identify the insect vector(s) of the disease.


Phlebotomine sand flies were collected in and around Mokolo using New Standard CDC Miniature Light Traps. Individual sand flies were used for morphological species identification, and the remainder of the body for DNA analysis. Sand flies were demonstrated to harbour Leishmania spp. parasites using ITS1 PCR. Mitochondrial vertebrate‐specific Cytochrome b ‐PCR was used to identify blood meals ingested by female sand flies. PCR amplicons were sequenced for Leishmania and blood sources discrimination.


This study revealed the presence of Leishmania donovani complex DNA (n = 1) in Phlebotomus duboscqi and of lizard‐borne Leishmania tarentolae‐like DNA (n = 3) in Sergentomyia spp. in 79 sand fly specimens from Mokolo district.


The causative agent of CL could not be detected in potential vectors. Instead, we found evidence for visceral leishmaniasis (VL) parasites in Phlebotomus duboscqi as well as enzootic reptile parasites in the Mokolo area. We recommend that an epidemiological survey be carried out in the area to evaluate the prevalence and eventually describe the clinical manifestations of VL in the human population. Political instability in neighbouring countries and the resulting refugee migration are likely explanations for the emergence of VL in Mokolo.


This article was originally published in Tropical Medicine & International Health. The full-text article from the publisher can be found here.

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Tropical Medicine & International Health


© 2018 John Wiley & Sons Ltd