In the peri- and post-elimination settings, a strong Kala Azar surveillance framework will be required to measure ongoing transmission, and ensure outbreaks do not occur. Xenomonitoring involves measuring the incidence and prevalence of parasite infection in local vector populations. It is a non-invasive, ethically uncontentious method of monitoring transmission in elimination settings, and may be more cost-effective than collecting human samples.
Xenomonitoring has been used successfully to assess elimination endpoints for lymphatic filariasis (LF) in several countries, but requires technical development for Kala Azar. In this project, we will (1) optimise a real-time quantitative polymerase chain reaction assay to detect specifically the metacyclic forms of Leishmania donovani in P. argentipes, and (2) deploy it in a proof-of-concept pilot study to assess feasibility, scalability, and cost-effectiveness of xenomonitoring as a passive surveillance system.
Tiwary et al. 2012. 'Prevalence of sand flies and Leishmania donovani infection in a natural population of female Phlebotomus argentipes in Bihar State, India'. Vector Borne Zoonotic Diseases, 12(6): 467-472.
Prof Mary Cameron
Ms Shannon McIntyre
Dr Matthew Rogers
Ms Giorgia Dalla Libera Marchiori
Dr Pradeep Das
Dr Vijay Kumar