Old World

Mediterranean Basin

Italy: Ph. perfiliewi has been reported to possess the same distribution as all cutaneous leishmaniosis foci in Italy, and no place of oriental sore occurs in the absence of it (Corradetti, 1962). Killick-Kendrick et al. (1977) stated that the possible transmission of visceral leishmaniosis in Emilia Romagna by Ph. perfiliewi also cannot be excluded. The importance of this species in transmission of Leishmania has been verified by numerous regional studies (e.g. cutaneous leishmaniosis in Abruzzi by Maroli et al. (1987b); visceral leishmaniosis in foci in Tuscany by Maroli and Bettini (1977); both forms in Calabria by Maroli et al. (1988)).
Ph. perniciosus as leishmaniosis vector has been found in Apulia and Calabria (Maroli et al., 1988).
Ph. papatasi has been associated with the transmission of L. major, the agent of zoonotic cutaneous leishmaniosis in India. But there is strong evidence that it does not transmit L. infantum in the Mediterranean area (Gramiccia et al., 1987; Maroli et al., 1987b; 1988).

Malta: The established vector (for visceral leishmaniosis) is Ph. perniciosus (Fenech, 1997).

Northern Europe

Germany: In 1999 for the first time a a sandfly species, Ph. mascitii, has been recorded in southwestern Baden Württemberg. This species has not been proven so far to be a vector of leishmaniosis (Naucke and Pesson, 2000).


Ph. sergenti was found infected by L. tropica in the semiarid belt in Morocco (Guilvard et al., 1991), and so was shown to be a vector of anthroponotic cutaneous leishmaniosis in this country.
Ph. papatasi was found to be the vector of L. major (Rioux et al., 1986a), agent of zoonotic cutaneous leishmaniosis in the arid and per-arid belts from rodent reservoir hosts like Meriones spp. (in Morocco (Petter, 1988), Algeria (Belazzoug, 1986) and Tunisia (Rioux et al., 1986b)) and Psammomys spp. (in Algeria (Belazzoug, 1983)) to man.


The main vector of L. donovani in India appears to be Ph. argentipes (Swaminath et al., 1942; Dinesh et al., 2000). This sandfly species is found over much of Asia, from Iran and Afghanistan to western Malaysia and Indonesia. It shows geographical variation in morphology and feeding behaviour (Lewis, 1982).
Ph. papatasi has been associated with the transmission of L. major, the agent of zoonotic cutaneous leishmaniosis in India.

Tabular Overview

Vector species

Causative organism (Leishmania species)

Distribution of sand fly


Ph. chinensis

L. infantum

North and central China

Ph. longiductus

L. infantum

North Africa and central Asia

Ph. perniciosus*

L. infantum

Mediterranean basin

Ph. ariasi*

L. infantum

Western Mediterranean

Ph. perfiliewi*

L. infantum

Mediterranean basin

Ph. longicuspis

L. infantum

North Africa, Spain

Ph. neglectus*

L. infantum

Eastern Mediterranean

Ph. tobbi

L. infantum

Eastern Mediterranean

Ph. kandelakii

L. infantum

Lebanon, Turkey, Iran, Afghanistan

Ph. syriacus

L. infantum

Israel, Jordan, Syria

Ph. langeroni*

L. infantum

North Africa, Spain

Ph. smirnovi

L. infantum

Central Asia

Ph. transcaucasicus

L. infantum


Table: Proven and suspected vectors of CanL in the Old World (Killick-Kendrick, 1999b). * proven vector



  • Belazzoug, S.: Isolation of Leishmania major Yakimoff & Schokhor, 1914 from Psammomys obesus Gretzschmar, 1828 (Rodentia Gerbillidae) in Algeria. Trans. R. Soc. Trop. Med. Hyg. 77, 876, 1983
  • Belazzoug, S.: Découverte d'un Meriones shawi (Rongeur, Gerbillidé) naturellement infesté par Leishmania dans le nouveau foyer de leishmaniose cutannée de Ksar Chellala (Algérie). Bull. Soc. Path. Exot. 79, 630-633, 1986
  • Corradetti, A.: Phlebotomus and leishmaniasis in North-Central Italy (Apenine Region). Sci. Rep., Istituto Superiore di Sanità 2, 103-109, 1962
  • Dinesh, D.S., S.K. Kar, K. Kishore, A. Palit, N. Verma, A.K. Gupta, D.S. Chauhan, D. Singh, V.D. Sharma and V.M. Katoch: Screening sandflies for the natural infection with Leishmania donovani, using a non-radioactive probe based on the total DNA of the parasite. Ann. Trop. Med. Parasitol. 94, 447-451, 2000
  • Fenech, F.F.: Leishmaniasis in Malta and the Mediterranean basin. Ann. Trop. Med. Parasitol. 91, 747-753, 1997
    Gramiccia, M., L. Gradoni, and E. Pozio: Leishmania infantum sensu lato as an agent of cutaneous leishmaniasis in Abruzzi region (Italy). Trans. R. Soc. Trop. Med. Hyg. 81, 235-237, 1987
  • Guilvard, E., J.A. Rioux, M. Gallego, F. Pratlong, J. Mahjour, E. Martinez-Ortega, J. Dereure, A. Saddiki and A. Martin: Leishmania tropica au Maroc. III – Rôle vecteur de Phlebotomus sergenti. a propos de 89 isolats. Ann. Parasitol. Hum. Comp. 66, 96-99, 1991
  • Killick-Kendrick, R.: The biology and control of phlebotomine sand flies. Clin. Dermatol. 17, 279-289, 1999b
  • Killick-Kendrick, R., P.D. Ready and S. Pampiglione: Notes on the prevalence and host preferences of Phlebotomus perfiliewi in Emilia-Romagna, Italy. In: Rioux, J.-A. (ed.): Ecologie des Leishmanioses. Coll. Internat. CNRS No. 239, Montpellier, France, 1974, pp 169-175, 1977
  • Lewis, D.J.: A taxonomic review of the genus Phlebotomus (Diptera, Psychodidae). Bull. Br. Mus. Nat. His. 45, 121-209, 1982
  • Maroli, M., and S. Bettini: Leishmaniasis in Tuscany (Italy). I. An investigation on phlebotomine sandflies in Grosseto Province. Trans. R. Soc. Trop. Med. Hyg. 71, 315-321, 1977
  • Maroli, M., M. Gramiccia, and L. Gradoni: Natural infection of Phlebotomus perfiliewi with Leishmania infantum in a cutaneous leishmaniasis focus of the Abruzzi region, Italy. Trans. R. Soc. Trop. Med. Hyg. 81, 596-598, 1987b
  • Maroli, M., M. Gramiccia, L. Gradoni, P.D. Ready, D.F. Smith, and C. Aquino: Natural infections of phlebotomine sandflies with Trypanosomatidae in central and south Italy. Trans. R. Soc. Trop. Med. Hyg. 82, 227-228, 1988
  • Naucke, T.J., and B. Pesson: Presence of Phlebotomus (Transphlebotomus) mascittii Grassi, 1908 (Diptera: Psychodidae) in Germany. Parasitol. Res. 86, 335-336, 2000
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  • Rioux, J.A., E. Guilvard, J. Dereure, G. Lanotte, M. Denial, F. Pratlong, E. Serres and A. Belmonte: Infestation naturelle de Phlebotomus papatasi (Scopoli, 1786) par Leishmania major MON-25. A propos de 28 souches isolées dans un foye du Sud marocain. In Leishmania. Taxonomie et Phylogenèse. Application Eco-épidémiologiques, Int. Coll. CNRS/INSERM/OMS, Institut Méditerranéen d'Etudes Epidémiologiques et Ecologiques, Montpellier, France, 1984, pp 471-480, 1986a
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  • Swaminath, C.S., H.E. Shortt and L.A.P. Anderson: Transmission of Indian kala-azar to man by bites of Phlebotomus argentipes Ann. and Brun. India. Ind. J. Med. Res. 30, 473-477, 1942

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