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Limited impact of vector control on the population genetic structure of Glossina fuscipes fuscipes from the sleeping sickness focus of Maro, Chad.

Tsetse flies (genus Glossina) transmit deadly trypanosomes to human populations and domestic animals in sub-Saharan Africa. Some foci of Human African Trypanosomiasis due to Trypanosoma brucei gambiense (g-HAT) persist in southern Chad, where a program of tsetse control was implemented against the local vector Glossina fuscipes fuscipes in 2018 in Maro. We analyzed the population genetics of G. f. fuscipes from the Maro focus before control (T0), one year (T1), and 18 months (T2) after the beginning of control efforts. Most flies captured displayed a local genetic profile (local survivors), but a few flies displayed outlier genotypes. Moreover, disturbance of isolation by distance signature (increase of genetic distance with geographic distance) and effective population size estimates, absence of any genetic signature of a bottleneck, and an increase of genetic diversity between T0 and T2 strongly suggest gene flows from various origins, and a limited impact of the vector control efforts on this tsetse population. Continuous control and surveillance of g-HAT transmission is thus recommended in Maro. Particular attention will need to be paid to the border with the Central African Republic, a country where the entomological and epidemiological status of g-HAT is unknown.

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