Detection of Trypanosoma brucei in field-captured tsetse flies and identification of host species fed on by the infected flies

Satoru Konnai, Hirohisa Mekata, Raadan Odbileg, Martin Simuunza, Mwelwa Chembensof, William Harold Witola, Mwase Enala Tembo, Harrison Chitambo, Noboru Inoue, Misao Onuma, Kazuhiko Ohashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The prevalence of trypanosome infections in tsetse flies in the Chiawa area of Lower Zambezi in Zambia, with endemic trypanosomosis, was determined by a polymerase chain reaction (PCR) method that allowed the detection of trypanosome DNA and determination of the type of animal host fed on by the tsetse fly Glossina pallidipes, using tsetse-derived DNA extracts as templates. Ninety G. pallidipes (82 females and 8 males; 18.3%) of the 492 flies captured by baited biconical traps tested positive for the presence of Trypanosoma brucei species genomic DNA. Of the 90 T. brucei-positive flies, 47 (52.2%) also tested positive for vertebrate mitochondrial DNA. Sequence analysis of the vertebrate mitochondrial DNA amplicons established that they originated from 8 different vertebrate species, namely, human (Homo sapiens), African elephant (Loxodonta cyclotis), African buffalo (Syncerus caffer), waterbuck (Kobus ellipsiprymnus), roan antelope (Hippotragus equinus), greater kudu (Tragelaphus strepsiceros), warthog (Phacochoerus africanus), and goat (Capra hircus). Furthermore, to investigate the prevalence of trypanosome infections in domestic goats in the same area where trypanosomes had been detected in tsetse files, a total of 86 goats were randomly selected from 6 different herds. Among the selected goats, 36 (41.9%) were found to be positive for T. brucei species. This combined detection method would be an ideal approach not only for mass screening for infection prevalence in tsetse populations, but also for the prediction of natural reservoirs in areas endemic for trypanosomosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)565-573
Number of pages9
JournalVector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Glossina pallidipes
  • Goat
  • Host identification
  • Trypanosoma brucei
  • Zambia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Virology
  • Infectious Diseases


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