Determination of sand fly fauna and molecular detection of Leishmania in sand flies in Antalya Province, Southern Turkey

Arserim S. K., Çetin H., Karakus M., Demir S., Ser O., Töz S., ...More

PARASITOLOGY RESEARCH, vol.120, no.9, pp.3105-3111, 2021 (SCI-Expanded) identifier identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 120 Issue: 9
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s00436-021-07279-5
  • Journal Indexes: Science Citation Index Expanded (SCI-EXPANDED), Scopus, Academic Search Premier, Aquatic Science & Fisheries Abstracts (ASFA), BIOSIS, CAB Abstracts, EMBASE, MEDLINE, Veterinary Science Database
  • Page Numbers: pp.3105-3111
  • Keywords: Cutaneous leishmaniasis, Leishmaniasis, Leishmania infantum, Sand fly, Vectors, CUTANEOUS LEISHMANIASIS, PHLEBOTOMINE SANDFLIES, PSYCHODIDAE, DIPTERA, NEGLECTUS
  • Akdeniz University Affiliated: Yes


Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) and cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) are diseases transmitted by infected female sand flies. Since the eradication of malaria in Turkey, CL is the main vector-borne disease in the country, with more than 2000 cases per year, making it a significant public health problem. The aims of this study were to carry out an entomological survey in Antalya Province, an endemic area for CL in the Mediterranean Region of Turkey, to identify sand fly fauna and to screen female specimens for the presence of Leishmania parasites (Leishmania infantum, L. tropica, L. major, and L. donovani) using molecular analysis. Sand flies were collected in 42 localities of seven districts in Antalya Province using CDC miniature light traps in two different periods, June 2012 and September 2013. The specimens were kept in 96% ethanol until the dissection was done. The head and genitalia of the specimens were cut for preparing individual slides for species identification. The rest of the body of female specimens was kept separately. The specimens were identified at the species level, and 27 pools were generated according to the locations and species for screening the presence of Leishmania. A commercial kit was used for DNA extractions. Real-time and conventional polymerase chain reaction (PCR) targeting the internal transcribed spacer region (ITS1) were then performed. In total, 1306 specimens comprising nine species belonging to the Phlebotomus genus were collected in the study region, with Phlebotomus neglectus/syriacus (38.82%) the most abundant, followed by P. alexandri (21.67%) and P. tobbi (20.44%). In the 27 pools, Leishmania infantum DNA was detected in four pools containing P. neglectus/syriacus and one pool containing P. tobbi. In conclusion, the sand fly fauna in the Antalya Province is diverse. The probable vector sand fly species are P. neglectus/syriacus and P. tobbi with high dominance (59.26%), which indicates a high risk of CL transmission. The data presented here may help to shed more light on the transmission cycles of the Leishmania parasite in this CL endemic area.