Speculations on biting midges and other bloodsucking arthropods as alternative vectors of Leishmania

Sand flies remain the only proven vectors of Leishmania spp. but recent implementation of PCR techniques has led to increasing speculation about "alternative vectors", including biting midges. Here, we summarize that PCR has considerable limits for studing the role of bloodsucking arthropods in the epidemiology of leishmaniasis. The Leishmania life cycle in the sand fly includes a complex series of interactions which are in many cases species-specific, the early phase of the infection is, however, non-specific to sand flies. These facts should be considered in detection of Leishmania in ,"alternative" or "new" vectors to avoid mistaken speculation about their vector competence.

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