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Vector Control for Visceral and Cutaneous Leishmaniasis (VCVCL)
Start date: Oct 7, 2008, End date: Oct 6, 2010 PROJECT  FINISHED 

"Visceral leishmaniasis (VL) & cutaneous leishmaniasis (CL) are parasitic diseases transmitted to humans by the bite of infected insects (sand flies). VL is fatal if not treated and CL may cause facial disfigurement both are more likely to affect children under 15 years old in European as well as S. Mediterranean countries. Precise figures are not available but reports suggest that between 36,000 & 65,000 cases may occur in endemic Mediterranean (including European) countries annually. The proportion of VL cases varies from 3 to over 40% depending on the country. The EU and WHO recognise the significance of the health problem and have called for research to develop innovative tools to control sand flies as vaccines are not available. This project addresses the concerns of the EU and WHO by developing an alternative vector control strategy that targets the insects responsible for transmitting VL and CL, leading to reduced disease transmission. This project will determine through lab and field based behavioural and chemical studies if sex pheromones are present in Phlebotomus perniciosus and P. papatasi (vectors of VL & CL) and determine if they have practical applications. This approach is also being used by the Keele research group, funded by the Wellcome Trust, to develop sex pheromone based strategies for controlling the S. American vector of VL, Lutzomyia longipalpis. The success of the project depends of the complimentary skills of the MC IIF and the research group at Keele University. The MC IIF has significant skills in maintaining colonies, handling and understanding the insects behaviour. The Keele group has significant ability to isolate, identify and synthesize insect sex pheromones and to translate the results of bench research into practical outcomes. This research will lead to a new, environmentally benign, method of controlling sand flies that transmit VL and CL in European and other countries leading to a reduction in disease transmission."

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