Experimental Colonization of Sand Flies (Lutzomyia longipalpis; Diptera: Psychodidae) by Bartonella ancashensis

Michael F. Minnick, Autumn J. Robinson, Ruby D. Powell, Tobin E. Rowland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Bartonella ancashensis is a recently described Bartonella species endemic to Peru, where it causes verruga peruana in humans. While the arthropod vector of B. ancashensis transmission is unknown, human coinfections with Bartonella bacilliformis suggest that phlebotomine sand flies are a vector. Materials and Methods: To address the hypothesis that sand flies are involved in the bacterium's transmission, Lutzomyia longipalpis sand flies were used as an infection model, together with green fluorescent protein-expressing B. ancashensis. Results: Results showed that bacterial infections were clearly established, limited to the anterior midgut of the female fly, and maintained for roughly 7 days. At 3-7 days postinfection, a prominent microcolony of aggregated bacteria was observed in the anterior midgut, immediately distal to the stomodeal valve of the esophagus. In contrast, eggs, diuretic fluid, feces, and other tissues were not infected. Conclusion: These results suggest that certain sand fly species within the endemic zone for B. ancashensis may play a role in the bacterium's maintenance and possibly in its transmission to humans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)324-330
Number of pages7
JournalVector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases
Volume23
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2023

Keywords

  • Bartonella ancashensis
  • Lutzomyia longipalpis
  • arthropod vector
  • infection model
  • sand fly

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