Prevalence of trypanosomes and selected symbionts in tsetse species of eastern Zambia

Mulenga, Gloria M., Namangala, Boniface, and Gummow, Bruce (2022) Prevalence of trypanosomes and selected symbionts in tsetse species of eastern Zambia. Parasitology, 149 (11). pp. 1406-1410.

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Insect symbionts have attracted attention for their potential use as anti-parasitic gene products in arthropod disease vectors. While tsetse species of the Luangwa valley have been extensively studied, less is known about the prevalence of symbionts and their interactions with the trypanosome parasite. Polymerase chain reaction was used to investigate the presence of Wolbachia and Sodalis bacteria, in tsetse flies infected with trypanosomes (Trypanosoma vivax, Trypanosoma congolense and Trypanosoma brucei). Out of 278 captured tsetse flies in eastern Zambia, 95.3% (n = 265, 95% CI = 92.8–97.8) carried endosymbionts: Wolbachia (79.1%, 95% CI 73.9–83.8) and Sodalis (86.3%, 95% CI 81.7–90.1). Overall, trypanosome prevalence was 25.5% (n = 71, 95% CI = 20.4–30.7), 10.8% (n = 30, 95% CI 7.1–14.4) for T. brucei, 1.4% (n = 4, 95% CI = 0.4–3.6) for both T. congolense and T. vivax, and 0.7% (n = 2, 95% CI 0.1–2.6) for T. b. rhodesiense. Out of 240 tsetse flies that were infected with Sodalis, trypanosome infection was reported in 40 tsetse flies (16.7%, 95% CI = 12.0–21.4) while 37 (16.8%, 95% CI 11.9–21.8) of the 220 Wolbachia infected tsetse flies were infected with trypanosomes. There was 1.3 times likelihood of T. brucei infection to be present when Wolbachia was present and 1.7 likelihood of T. brucei infection when Sodalis was present. Overall findings suggest absence of correlation between the presence of tsetse endosymbionts and tsetse with trypanosome infection. Lastly, the presence of pathogenic trypanosomes in tsetse species examined provided insights into the risk communities face, and the importance of African trypanosomiasis in the area.

Item ID: 75613
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1469-8161
Keywords: prevalence, symbiont, trypanosome, tsetse, Zambia
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Copyright Information: © The Author(s), 2022. Published by Cambridge University Press. This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (, which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution and reproduction, provided the original article is properly cited.
Date Deposited: 03 Aug 2022 07:56
FoR Codes: 32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3207 Medical microbiology > 320704 Medical parasitology @ 50%
30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3009 Veterinary sciences > 300909 Veterinary parasitology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 20 HEALTH > 2001 Clinical health > 200104 Prevention of human diseases and conditions @ 50%
10 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 1099 Other animal production and animal primary products > 109902 Animal welfare @ 50%
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