The current control of Phebotomus argentipes (Annandale and Brunetti), the vector of Leishmania donovani (Laveran and Mesnil), on the Indian subcontinent is base on indoor residual spraying. The efficacy of this method depends, among other factors, on the timing and number of spraying rounds, which depend on the P. argentipes seasonality. To describe P. argentipes' seasonal patterns, six visceral leishmaniasis (VL) endemic villages, three in Muzaffarpur and three in Sunsari districts in India and Nepal, respectively, were selected based on accessibility and VL incidence. Ten houses per cluster with the highest P. argentipes density were monitored monthly for 15–16 mo using Center for Disease Control and Prevention light traps. Minimum and maximum temperature and rainfall data for the months January 2006 through December 2007 were collected from the nearest available weather stations. Backwards stepwise regression was used to generate the minimal adequate model for explaining the monthly variation in P. argentipes populations. The seasonality of P. argentipes is similar in India and Nepal, with two annual density peaks around May and October. Monthly P. argentipes density is positively associated with temperature and negatively associated with rainfall in both study sites. The multivariate climate model explained 57% of the monthly vectorial abundance. Vector control programs against P. argentipes (i.e., indoor residual spraying) should take into account the seasonal described here when implementing and monitoring interventions. Monitoring simple meteorological variables (i.e., temperature, rainfall) may allow prediction of VL epidemics on the Indian subcontinent.
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Vol. 47 • No. 2