The use of DNA hybridization for the detection of Leishmania aethiopica in naturally infected sandfly vectors

Tamás Laskay*, Teferi Gemetchu, Hailu Teferedegn, Dominique Frommel

*Corresponding author for this work
12 Citations (Scopus)


Hybridization with kinetoplast deoxyribonucleic acid (kDNA) probes was used to detect Leishmania aethiopica in naturally infected sandflies in south-west Ethiopia, an endemic area for cutaneous leishmaniasis. 396 sandflies were dissected; microscopy revealed flagellates in the midgut of 5 Phlebotomus pedifer. The infecting flagellates were confirmed as L. aethiopica by isoenzyme typing. Gut specimens for all dissected sandflies were hybridized with total L. aethiopica kDNA as well as with a cloned kDNA probe specific for L. aethiopica. Samples from sandflies which were found to be infected microscopically also hybridized with the L. aethiopica kDNA probes. One additional sandfly hybridized but was not shown to be infected by microscopical examination. Hybridization experiments with 65 whole squash-blotted sandflies gave results that correlated very well with results obtained using microscopy. Our results indicate that DNA probing is a useful method to detect Leishmania infection in sandfly midguts as well as in whole squash-blotted sandflies, and can be used to follow changes of infection rate. DNA probing is therefore an alternative to microscopy in large-scale epidemiological studies as well as monitoring control programmes aimed at human leishmaniasis.

Original languageEnglish
JournalTransactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)599-602
Number of pages4
Publication statusPublished - 01.01.1991

Research Areas and Centers

  • Academic Focus: Center for Infection and Inflammation Research (ZIEL)


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