Population genetics of Trypanosoma brucei circulating in Glossina palpalis palpalis and domestic animals of the Fontem sleeping sickness focus of Cameroon

Gustave Simo, Guy Roger Njitchouang, Tresor Tito Tanekou Melachio, Flobert Njiokou, Gerard Cuny, Asonganyi Tazoacha
Parasites & Vectors 2014, 7: 156

BACKGROUND: Human African Trypanosomiasis is still a public health threat in Cameroon. To assess Trypanosoma brucei strains circulating in the Fontem sleeping sickness focus, we conducted a genetic structure study using microsatellites to assess genotypes circulating in both tsetse flies and domestic animals.

METHOD: For this study, pyramidal traps were set up and 2695 tsetse flies were collected and 1535 (57%) living flies were dissected and their mid-guts collected. Furthermore, blood samples were collected from 397 domestic animals (pigs, goats, sheep and dogs). DNA was extracted from midguts and blood samples, and specific primers were used to identify trypanosomes of the subgenus Trypanozoon. All positive samples were genetically characterized with seven microsatellite markers.

RESULTS: Seventy five (4.7%) midguts of tsetse flies and 140 (35.2%) domestic animals were found infected by trypanosomes of the subgenus Trypanozoon. The genetic characterization of 215 Trypanozoon positive samples (75 from tsetse and 140 from animals) revealed a genetic diversity between Trypanosoma brucei circulating in tsetse and domestic animals. Of these positive samples, 87 (40.5%) single infections were used here to investigate the population genetics of Trypanosoma brucei circulating in tsetse and domestic animals. The dendrogram illustrating the genetic similarities between Trypanosoma brucei genotypes was subdivided into four clusters. The samples from tsetse belonged to the same cluster whereas the samples from domestic animals and espcially pigs were distributed in the four clusters.

CONCLUSION: Pigs appeared as the animal species harboring the highest number of different Trypanosoma brucei strains. They may play an important role in the propagation of different genotypes. The FST values revealed a sub structuration of Trypanosoma brucei according to hosts and sometimes villages. The data obtained from this study may have considerable importance for the understanding of the transmission and the spread of specific genotypes of Trypanosoma brucei.

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