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Georgia Journal of Science

Article Title

ONE-HEALTH BIOSURVEILLANCE FOR BLOOD-FEEDING PHLEBOTOMINE FLIES AS POTENTIAL DISEASE VECTORS IN NORTHWEST GEORGIA, USA

Abstract

As part of a major emphasis on One Health approaches to infectious disease epidemiology, we have initiated several studies of blood-feeding arthropods that may serve as potential vectors of infectious pathogens to humans, wildlife, or domestic animals. Among the most important of these taxa are the phlebotomine sand flies (Diptera: Psychodidae: Phlebotominae) that belong to the genus Lutzomyia. Several Lutzomyia species are known or suspected as potential vectors of important emerging infectious diseases of animals and humans in the United States, including zoonotic leishmaniasis, caused by a parasitic flagellate protist. In Georgia, Lutzomyia has been studied extensively as the vector of vesicular stomatitis virus (VSV) on Ossabaw Island, a coastal barrier island near Savannah. From late August through November 2017, we conducted a preliminary survey for phlebotomine flies at diverse locations across Berry College’s 107-square-kilometer outdoor laboratory. Collection was accomplished using three standard traps designed for flying insect vectors: CDC miniature incandescent; BG Sentinel-2; Mosquito Magnet. All were equipped to emit carbon dioxide and/or chemical lures to simulate presence of human or animals upon which the flies feed. Flies were dried and sorted in the laboratory and identified to genus using a dissecting microscope. In total, 37 Lutzomyia flies were collected. These were collected from five (10%) of the 50 trap deployments. All of the Lutzomyia were from traps set in woodland/field border areas with substantial active use by humans, dogs, cats, and diverse wildlife. All were collected between 4 September and 9 October. This is the first report of phlebotomine flies in this area of northwest Georgia. We conclude that there is some potential for disease transmission by these flies among wildlife, domestic animals, and/or humans. Additional studies are underway to determine species composition and further details about their distribution, seasonality, and other characters of potential epidemiological importance.

Acknowledgements

North American Scientific Enterprises (NASCENT)

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