Invasive Species Compendium

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Abstract

Characterization of sand fly breeding sites in district Malakand, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, and evaluation of risk factors for cutaneous leishmaniasis in the region.

Abstract

Present study was carried to determine the sand fly species composition, breeding sites ecology, seasonal abundance, and spatial distribution in district Malakand, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan. In addition, risk factors associated with cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) were also evaluated. Survey of indoor and outdoor habitats was carried out using sticky traps in 31 villages of Dargai and Batkhela tehsils of Malakand. Soil from habitats of adult and immature sand flies was analysed. Questionnaire-based household survey was also performed in these villages to assess risk factors associated with CL. Soil samples from selected CL positive households were analysed for its contents. Additionally, clinicoepidemiological data from local health centres was examined for the year 2019. Total of 3,140 sand flies belonging to 18 species were collected. Phlebotomus sergenti was the most abundant species (38.16%). Its abundance had a strong positive correlation with mean monthly relative humidity and negative correlation with average temperature. Phlebotomus sergenti and Phlebotomus papatasi were abundant at an elevation ranging from 320 to 1,120 m above sea level and in agricultural lands near human settlements. Flight height preference apparatus collected maximum sand flies at 30 cm (1 ft) above the ground and all species associated negatively with height. Soil analysis from habitats of adult and immature flies showed that highest mean number of adults and immatures were recorded from silt loam which carried highest concentrations of K2O, Mg, Ca, and Zn. Number of immature sand flies correlated moderately (r = .7, p < .05) with K2O soil concentrations. There was significant similarity between organic matter contents in soil samples from positive breeding sites and CL households (Wilcoxon rank-sum test, p = .1976). In multivariate analysis model for CL risk factors, age (26-35 and >35 years), knowledge of leishmaniasis, living in a middle and upper class, preachers visit to villages, and assumption that Afghan refugees are more prone to CL were significant. CL patient's archived data from health centres showed that majority of patients had lesions on face and hands. Patient's influx was highest in February and March.