In Latin America, the protozoan parasite Leishmania mexicana is the causal agent of cutaneous leishmaniasis. Spread by sandflies, this ulcer-causing disease represents a serious public health problem in Mexico, especially in the Yucatan peninsula. In this study, researchers conducted a field study trapping sandflies in the state of Campeche and testing them for parasite presence. They captured more than 3,000 specimens belonging primarily to four species of the Psychodidae family. By DNA analysis they find 0.3 per cent of the flies to be infected with the parasite. Then, using ecological niche models based on GBIF-mediated occurrences, they demonstrate how nearly 40 per cent of the state of Campeche is suitable habitat for the flies, potentially exposing more than 100,000 people. The fly distributions overlap with those of known rodent reservoir species, increasing the evidence for the vectorial roles of the four fly species trapped in the study.
PECH-MAY A, PERAZA-HERRERA G, MOO-LLANES DA, ESCOBEDO-ORTEGÓN J, BERZUNZA-CRUZ M, BECKER-FAUSER I, MONTES DE OCA-AGUILAR AC and REBOLLAR-TÉLLEZ EA (2016) Assessing the importance of four sandfly species (Diptera: Psychodidae) as vectors of Leishmania mexicana in Campeche, Mexico. Medical and Veterinary Entomology. Wiley-Blackwell 30(3): 310–320. Available at doi:10.1111/mve.12169.