Investigation of Phlebotominae (Diptera: Psychodidae) Fauna, Seasonal Dynamics, and Natural Leishmania spp. Infection in Mug?la, Southwest of Turkey

PEKAĞIRBAŞ M., Karakus M., Kasap O. E., DEMİR S., Nalcaci M., TÖZ S., ...More

ACTA TROPICA, vol.216, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 216
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2021.105827
  • Journal Name: ACTA TROPICA
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Aerospace Database, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, Communication Abstracts, EMBASE, Geobase, MEDLINE, Metadex, Veterinary Science Database, Civil Engineering Abstracts
  • Hacettepe University Affiliated: Yes


Due to its geographical location, Mug?la province is one of the most frequently used places by refugees. Although leishmaniasis have been previously reported in this region, there is a lack of information on the etiological agent and possible vectors. The main objectives of this study were; i) to investigate the sand fly fauna, ii) to reveal the natural Leishmania spp. infection in wild caught sand flies using molecular tools, and iii) to determine the annual seasonal dynamics of the sand flies in Mug?la region. Totally, 2093 specimens belonging to 15 species [12 Phlebotomus, three Sergentomyia; 51 unidentified] were collected during the one-year (June 2016-June 2017) period. Of the collected sand flies, 1928 (92.12%) were caught by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) light traps, while 165 (7.88%) of them were caught by sticky traps. Phlebotomus major sensu lato (s.l.), the potential vector of visceral leishmaniasis (VL) and canine leishmaniasis (CanL) in the Mediterranean and Aegean region, was detected in all sampling locations and found as the dominant taxon (n=1035; 49.45%) of the study area and followed by Phlebotomus tobbi (n=371; 17.72%). During the sampling period, sand fly activity was started in March and peaked in August. Sand fly population size reduced dramatically between mid-September and early October. The number of collected specimens was peaked in August, while there is only one sample collected both in November and March. The majority of the sand flies (78.66%) were collected at an altitude range of 200-400 m. Seventy-two monospecific pools were screened for the presence of Leishmania DNA by real time ITS1 PCR and 24 (nine P. major s.l., eight P. tobbi, two P. papatasi, two S. minuta, one P. alexandri, one P. similis, and one Phlebotomus (Transphlebotomus spp.) of them (33.8%) were found positive (L. infantum, L. tropica, and L. major). To the best of our knowledge, the presence of fifteen sand fly species and their distribution, seasonal dynamics, molecular detection of Leishmania parasites in Mug?la province was reported for the first time. The presence of vector species in the study area, appropriate temperature and humidity conditions, long sand fly activity season, and presence of Leishmania parasite suggests that there is a serious risk in the transmission of leishmaniasis in Mug?la.