Characterizing the distribution and seasonal activity of the first population of sand flies (Diptera: Psychodidae) discovered in Kansas

Tuesday, November 12, 2013
Exhibit Hall 4 (Austin Convention Center)
Samantha Young , Department of Biology, Pittsburg State Universtiy, Pittsburg, KS
David M. Gordon , Department of Biology, Pittsburg State University, Pittsburg, KS
Ju-Lin Weng , Kansas State University, Manhattan, KS
Marcelo Ortigao , Department of Entomology, Kansas State Universtiy, Manhattan, KS
Canine visceral leishmaniasis (canVL) has been diagnosed in American Foxhounds since the late 90’s following introduction of infected animals from Europe. It has been shown that among Foxhounds Leishmania infantum disseminates through the placenta of  gravid females, and possibly via other body fluids. However, many investigators believe that sand fly vectors may also be involved in transmitting this parasite. Fourteen species of sand flies are found in North America and some are confirmed vectors of Leishmania. One suspected vector, Lutzomyia shannoni, can harbor Le. infantum following infected blood meals, but its role as a vector of canVL has yet to be confirmed. 

Following detection of Le. infantum-infected Foxhounds in Southeast Kansas, we published the first record of sand flies in the state.

Here we report on the phenology of sand flies in Southeast KS from data collected over a three-year period. We are also investigating correlations between weather and emergence patterns and examining variations in sand fly distribution within a sampling area of roughly 0.2 Km2.

Understanding factors influencing the distribution and abundance of these sand flies is of significance because the presence of a potential vector such as Lu. shannoni raises the possibility that suitable vertebrate hosts such as wild canids (e.g., coyotes), marsupials, and rodents can become infected with Le. infantum and increasing  the risk to humans and animals in the United States.

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