Isolation of Leishmania donovani from Phlebotomus martini in Baringo district, Kenya.
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An 18-month sandfly survey was conducted at 4 locations in Baringo District, Rift Valley Province, Kenya. 3 collection techniques were used: aspiration, sticky paper trap, and light trap in sites selected because of their proximity to homes of visceral leishmaniasis patients diagnosed and treated within 6 months before the survey. Over 2000 female Phlebotomus martini were collected of which 6 females were found to have flagellate protozoan infections. 3 of these infections were cultured successfully and cryopreserved. 2 isolates were identified as Leishmania donovani by cellulose acetate electrophoresis. The zymogram of the third isolate was different from all Old World Leishmania reference strains examined, and it is still unidentified. The finding of 2 P. martini naturally infected with L. donovani strongly supports the hypothesis that this species is a vector of visceral leishmaniasis in this area.