Fleas and trypanosomes of peridomestic small mammals in sub-Saharan MaliReport as inadecuate

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Parasites and Vectors

, 9:541

First Online: 11 October 2016Received: 04 August 2016Accepted: 26 September 2016


BackgroundFleas are obligate blood-feeding ectoparasites and vectors of several bacterial zoonotic pathogens as well as trypanosomes that parasitize rodents and other small mammals. During investigations of tick- and rodent-borne diseases in Mali, West Africa, we included fleas and rodent-borne trypanosomes, both of which are poorly known in this country, but are attracting greater public health interest.

MethodsSmall mammals were captured in 20 Malian villages from December 2007 to October 2011. Fleas were collected and identified to species, and thin blood smears were prepared, stained and examined microscopically for trypanosomes.

ResultsWe captured 744 small mammals, 68 9.1 % of which yielded fleas. Two species of fleas, Xenopsylla cheopis and Xenopsylla nubica, were collected from six species of rodents and one species of shrew. Multimammate rats, Mastomys natalensis, were hosts for 58.5 % of all fleas collected. Xenopsylla cheopis was found in the moister southern savannah while X. nubica was mostly restricted to the drier Sahel. Trypanosomes were found in 3 % of 724 blood smears, although 91 % of parasitemic animals originated from two villages where black rats Rattus rattus and M. natalensis were the primary hosts and X. cheopis the dominant flea. The trypanosomes were morphologically consistent with the Trypanosoma Herpetosoma lewisi group, flea-borne hemoflagellates that parasitize domestic rats.

ConclusionsXenopsylla cheopis and trypanosomes parasitize peridomestic rats that commingle with people in southern Mali. Given the increasing awareness of flea-borne trypanosomes as possible human pathogens, we hope our findings will stimulate future investigators to examine the potential public health significance of flea-borne trypanosomosis in West Africa.

KeywordsSiphonaptera Rodents Shrews Trypanosomosis West Africa AbbreviationsaaAedeagal apodeme

mt cyt-bMitochondrial cytochrome-b gene

p1First process of the clasper

Electronic supplementary materialThe online version of this article doi:10.1186-s13071-016-1818-5 contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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Author: Tom G. Schwan - Job E. Lopez - David Safronetz - Jennifer M. Anderson - Robert J. Fischer - Ousmane Maïga - Nafomon So

Source: https://link.springer.com/

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