Keele group publishes new results on the use of sex pheromone to trap sandflies

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Posted on 21 March 2014

The first results of a major study of sandfly control in Brazil have been published in the journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases.

Gordon Hamilton, Professor of Medical Entomology and Vector Control in the School of Life Sciences and Director of Keele’s Centre for Applied Entomology and Parasitology (CAEP), has published the first results of his Brazil-based field trial of a new method for trapping sandflies.  The project is funded by a major 5-year Strategic Translation Award from the Wellcome Trust. 

The paper: Synthetic Sex Pheromone in a Long-Lasting Lure Attracts the Visceral Leishmaniasis Vector, Lutzomyia longipalpis, for up to 12 Weeks in Brazil, shows that the use of a synthetic sex pheromone, developed by Professor Hamilton’s group over many years of work at Keele, can significantly improve the trapping of sandflies.  These insects are vectors for the Leishmania parasite, which causes the neglected tropical disease leishmaniasis.  Infected people are afflicted by one of two forms of the disease: the more common cutaneous leishmaniasis, which causes disfiguring sores on their skin, and visceral leishmaniasis, which affects internal organs and can be fatal.  Worldwide, about 2 million people are affected every year.  One major method to control this disease is by preventing contact between human hosts and the sandfly vectors of the parasite.