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Jihene Bettaieb, Kaouther Jaouadi, Wissem Ghawar and Afif Ben Salah
Posters-Accepted Abstracts: Epidemiology (Sunnyvale)
Introduction: Tunisia is known to be one of the most endemic areas of leishmaniasis where both visceral and cutaneous forms
are reported. Cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) is older and has a higher prevalence than visceral one (VL). It is caused by four
taxa (Leishmania (L.) major, L. infantum, L. tropica and L. killicki) which are responsible for a large clinical spectrum of lesions.
Phlebotomus species are known to be the transmission vectors of Leishmania in different areas of the world. However, some
researchers have hypothesized that Sergentomyia (S.) genus phlebotomine sandflies are capable of transmitting Leishmania
parasites. Determining whether Sergentomyia is a potential vector of Leishmania is crucial to understanding the parasite–
vector transmission cycle in different areas of the world.
Materials & Methods: Sand flies were collected from south Tunisia in 2013. DNA was extracted from individual sand flies and
parasite DNA was detected by PCR amplification of the ribosomal internal transcribed spacer 1 and DNA sequencing.
Results & Conclusion: L. infantum DNA was identified in one specimen of S. dreyfussi. Currently, no local data is available
on infecting Sergentomyia ssp. This is the first report of Leishmania DNA detection from naturally infected wild-caught S.
dreyfussi. Our finding supports the assumption that L. infantum transmission via Sergentomyia is possible.
Jihene Bettaieb is working in Laboratory of Medical Epidemiology, Pasteur Institute of Tunis, Tunisia.
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