Species composition of sand flies and bionomics of Phlebotomus papatasi and P. sergenti (Diptera: Psychodidae) in cutaneous leishmaniasis endemic foci, Morocco

Boussaa S. ; Boussaa S. ; Kahime K. ; Samy A. ; Salem A. ; Boumezzough A. 


Background: Cutaneous Leishmaniasis (CL) is one of the most neglected tropical diseases in Morocco. Leishmania major and L. tropica are the main culprits identified in all endemic foci across the country. These two etiological agents are transmitted by Phlebotomus papatasi and P. sergenti, the two most prevalent sand fly species in Morocco. Previous studies reflected gaps of knowledge regarding the environmental fingerprints that affect the distribution of these two potential vectors across Morocco. Methods: The sand flies were collected from 48 districts across Morocco using sticky paper traps. Collected specimens were preserved in 70 % ethanol for further processing and identification. Male and female densities were calculated in each site to examine their relations to the environmental conditions across these sites. The study used 19 environmental variables including precipitation, aridity, elevation, soil variables and a composite representing maximum, minimum and mean of day- and night-time Land Surface Temperature (LST), and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI). Results: A total of 11,717 specimens were collected during this entomological survey. These specimens represented 11 species of two genera; Phlebotomus and Sergentomyia. Correlations of the sand fly densities with the environmental variables were estimated to identify the var iables which influence the distribution of the two potential vectors, Phlebotomus papatasi and P. sergenti, associated with all CL endemic foci across the country. The density of P. papatasi was most affected by temperature changes. The study showed a significant positive correlation between the densities of both sexes of P. papatasi and night-time temperatures. Both P. papatasi and P. sergenti showed a negative correlation with aridity, but, such correlation was only significant in case of P. papatasi. NDVI showed a positive correlation only with densities of P. sergenti, while, soil PH and soil water stress were negatively correlated with the densities of both males and females of only P. papatasi. Conclusions: Our results identified the sand fly species across all CL endemic sites and underlined the influences of night-time temperature, soil water stress and NDVI as the most important variables affecting the sand fly distribution in all sampled sites. This preliminary study considered the importance of these covariates to anticipate the potential distribution of P. papatasi and P. sergenti in Morocco.

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Issue Date 2-Feb-2016
Journal Parasites and Vectors 
URI http://research.asu.edu.eg/123456789/726

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