Tsetse blood-meal sources, endosymbionts, and trypanosome infections provide insight into African trypanosomiasis transmission in the Maasai Mara National Reserve, a wildlife-human-livestock interface

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
E. E. MakhuluLillian Wambua

Abstract

Background: African trypanosomiasis (AT) is a neglected disease of both humans and animals caused by Trypanosoma parasites, which are transmitted by obligate hematophagous tsetse flies ( Glossina spp.). Understanding of AT transmission is hampered by limited knowledge on interactions of tsetse flies with their vertebrate hosts and the influence of endosymbionts on vector competence, especially in wildlife-human-livestock interfaces. We identified the tsetse species, their blood-meal sources, and the correlation between endosymbiont and trypanosome infection status in the trypanosome-endemic Maasai Mara National Reserve (MMNR) of Kenya. Methodology/Principal Findings: Among 1167 tsetse flies (1136 Glossina pallidipes , 31 Glossina swynnertoni ) collected from 10 sampling sites, 28 (2.4%) were positive by PCR for trypanosomes, majority (17/28) being Trypanosoma vivax . Blood-meal analyses based on high-resolution melting analysis of mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase 1 and cytochrome b gene PCR products (n = 345) identified humans as the most common vertebrate host (37%), followed by hippopotamus (29.1%), African buffalo (26.3%), elephant (3.39%), and giraffe (0.84%). Trypanosome-infected flies had fed on hippopotamus and buffalo...Continue Reading

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