Disordered urbanization and deforestation are the main activities proposed as causal factors of re-emergence of American cutaneous leishmaniasis caused by Leishmania braziliensis. The purpose of this work was to investigate, in the hyperendemic area of Argentina, the distribution of Phlebotomine sand flies at the modified primary vegetation-crop interface, as one of the potential sites where the effects of changing landscape on sand fly populations may be manifested. Twenty samplings were made between June 2004 and August 2005. The traps to catch sand flies were set on two consecutive nights every month (except in 5 mo, where it became every 15 d). The relationship between sand fly abundance and meteorological and landscape variables was analyzed using non-metric multidimensional scaling and Kendall's correlation coefficients. Lutzomyia neivai (Pinto) was the most abundant species, followed by Lutzomyia migonei (França), Lutzomyia cortelezzii (Brèthes), Lutzomyia shannoni (Dyar), and Lutzomyia punctigeniculata (Floch and Abonnenc). Traps located close to modified areas collected the greatest numbers of sand flies, whereas traps located in the least modified area (adjacent to the primary vegetation) collected the fewest. There was a strong negative correlation between the abundance of sand flies and precipitation. This study shows that even small modifications in the landscape led to an increase in sand fly abundance, mainly Lu. neivai, a Leishmania braziliensis vector. This underscores the need for recommendations about the risk of American cutaneous leishmaniasis before any environmental intervention is done in an endemic area, as well as for the monitoring of sand fly population dynamics at the site of intervention, before, during, and after the process.
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Vol. 47 • No. 6