Phlebotomine sand flies are distributed across nearly all faunal regions of the world, represented by over 800 species, of which many are important vectors of human pathogens. Brazil is currently faced with the expansion and urbanization of leishmaniases, with an increase in the numbers of human cases and seropositive dogs in various medium-sized to large cities. The objective of the current study was to survey the phlebotomine sand fly species in an area endemic for American cutaneous leishmaniasis (ACL) and American visceral leishmaniasis (AVL), i.e., the municipal district of Santa Luzia, lying within the metropolitan region of Belo Horizonte in the Brazilian State of Minas Gerais. Sand flies were collected monthly in 2004–2005 using modified Falcão light traps hung in the peridomiciles of houses and surrounding wooded areas in the district of Baronesa. A total of 1,552 sand flies belonging to seven species was collected, and an interesting pattern of the distribution of the most abundant species relative to the sampling locality was revealed. In the wooded areas Lutzomyia whitmani (Antunes & Coutinho) predominated, whereas in the urban area Lutzomyia longipalpis (Lutz & Neiva) was the most abundant species. These results indicate two possible epidemiological patterns of Leishmania transmission in Santa Luzia: one for American cutaneous leishmaniasis associated predominantly with wooded areas, and another for AVL, with transmission principally occurring around human habitations.
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