Aspects of the ecology of sand fly vectors of leishmaniasis and arboviral diseases

Rift Valley fever (RVF), is a zoonosis of major public health and veterinary importance in sub-Saharan Africa. The disease is caused by RVF virus, a member of the genus Phlebovirus (family Bunyaviridae).

Although known to be vectored primarily by mosquitoes in Kenya, isolation of the virus from mosquitoes between epidemics so far has been scarce despite evidence of livestock exposure to the virus through serological studies.

We hypothesized that blood feeding insects like sand flies abundant in RVF areas, could play important roles in the maintenance of the virus and others between epidemics. Additionally, as sand flies are vectors of important diseases, their control remains a priority.

To this end, we are also investigating how sand fly association with plants impact on their survival with the view to develop innovative surveillance and control tools against them.