Phlebotominae

Sand flies can be annoying biting pests in places where they are abundant. They may bite or probe several times before and after feeding, each time causing a sharp, pricking sensation. Residents of Peru have difficulty sleeping in areas that are highly infested with L. verrucarum. In one study, the mean biting rate was estimated to be 20—50 bites per person per night. One individual received an estimated 300 bites in a single night. Other highly anthropophilic species are L. diabolica in the United States; L. gomezi, L. olmeca, L. panamensis, L. pessoana, L. sanguinaria, L. trapidoi, and L. ylephiletor in Central America; L. wellcomei in Brazil; and Phleboto-mus sergenti and P. papatasi in the Old World.

The initial bites received by an individual typically induce sensitization, resulting in immediate or delayed skin reactions to subsequent bites. The reaction to the bite of P. papatasi is a pink or red papule about 2-3 mm in diameter and 0.5 mm high, which remains prominent for 4—5 days before gradually disappearing. Moderate to severe itching usually occurs. Individuals that become hypersensitive often develop hives, with pronounced swelling of the eyelids and lips if those sites are bitten. Prolonged exposure to sand fly bites results in eventual desensitization. Chronically exposed individuals living in areas with high sand fly populations may exhibit no reaction to their bites.

Many species of Lutzomyia and Phlebotomus are vectors of viral, bacterial, and protozoan pathogens of humans (Table I). Zoophilic species, including species of Brump-tomyia, Warileya, and Sergentomyia, as well as Lutzomyia and Phlebotomus, may be involved in the maintenance of zoonotic diseases.

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