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Phlebotomine Sandflies and the control of Leishmaniasis

| August 18, 2015

The disease leishmaniasis has come again into prominence with renewed efforts in India to control the insect vectors of the disease. Many soldiers were affected by the disease during the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. The most common form of the disease is Cutaneous Leishmaniasis, which causes an open sore at the bite sites, which heals in a few months to a year and half, leaving an unpleasant-looking scar. Visceral leishmaniasis or kala-azar is the most serious form, damaging the spleen and liver and is potentially fatal if untreated. According to WHO an estimated 1.3 million new cases and 20,000 to 30,000 deaths occur annually, but only a small fraction of those infected by Leishmania parasites will eventually develop the disease.

Cutaneous leishmaniasis or skin ulcer due to leishmaniasis on the hand of Central American adult. Source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, credit Dr. D.S. Martin

Cutaneous leishmaniasis or skin ulcer due to leishmaniasis on the hand of Central American adult. Source Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, credit Dr. D.S. Martin

The vectors of the leishmaniases are correctly termed phlebotomine sandflies. There are two genera of medical importance, namely Phlebotomus of the Old World, with 12 subgenera, and Lutzomyia of the New World, having 25 subgenera (Killick Kendrick, 1999). These small Phlebotomine sandflies are usually no larger than 3mm and hold their wings at an angle above the abdomen at rest. Little is known about their breeding sites but movement from them to biting humans is generally considered……..

This is an extract of the full article published in International Pest Control – July/August 2015 issue.

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Author: Graham Matthews*
* IPARC, Imperial College

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Category: Public health, Special features

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