Molecular Identification of Leishmania Parasites in Sand Flies (Diptera, Psychodidae) of an Endemic Foci in Poldokhtar, Iran

Document Type : Original Article


1 Department of Parasitology and Mycology, School of Medicine, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences, Isfahan, Iran

2 Isfahan Health Training and Research Center, Institute Public of Health Researches, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran

3 Department of Health Center, Poledokhtar Health Center, Lorestan University of Medical Sciences, Khorramabad, Iran


Background: Cutaneous leishmaniasis is one of the most important public health problems in many developing countries. Sand flies, as vectors, transmit infectious forms of the parasite to the vertebrate hosts. Poldokhtar, South West of Iran, is one of the endemic foci of diseases with a little information about it. In this paper, we have tried to gather some useful information to control and to prevent this disease in this region. Materials and Methods: The present study was conducted to determine the vector(s), the parasite, and the species composition of sand flies in the Poldokhtar County during the months from July to September 2015. Sticky paper traps were used to collect sand flies from July to September. Species identification was done based on available diagnostic keys. Nested-polymerase chain reaction was performed to diagnosis the Leishmania infection of sand flies, and restriction fragment length polymorphism was used to identify the Leishmania species. Results: A total of 2000 specimens comprising 8 species of sand flies (6 Phlebotomus and 2 Sergentomyia) were identified. Phlebotomus papatasi was the dominant species outdoor and Sergentomyia sintoni was the dominant species indoor. Among the 163 specimens of female P. papatasi, just 10 of them (6.1%) were positive to Leishmania major parasites. Conclusion: This is the first report of Leishmania infection of P. papatasi to L. major in this region. The results revealed that the high density of P. papatasi in outdoor and their infection with L. major is attributed that this species can play a major role as a principle vector in this region.


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