The correct identification of etiological agents in vector insects is crucial for epidemiological studies. Identification of flagellates in such vectors, usually by dissection of the digestive tract and microscopic observation of the contents as well as attempts at parasite isolation from insects in culture media, have proven operationally inadequate and with poor diagnostic specificity, since female sand flies are also hosts for other flagellates like Trypanosoma and Endotrypanum. Due to the efficiency and specificity of DNA target sequence amplification by polymerase chain reaction (PCR), the latter could be used to investigate the presence of Leishmania in sand flies, although the insects need to be properly stored and the Leishmania DNA extracted using appropriate methodology. This paper describes methodologies to standardize sand fly storage and Leishmania DNA extraction in such specimens as a more practical method in field studies.
Psychodidae; Leishmania; Polymerase Chain Reaction