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Project

A systemic insecticide to control zoonotic cutaneous leishmaniasis in Errachidia province - Southeastern Morocco: an intervention trial for an innovative vector control tool (ZCL Morocco)

Morocco faces repeated large outbreaks of zoonotic cutaneous leishmaniasis (ZCL) in its southeastern provinces, caused by the L. major parasite and transmitted by the sand fly Ph. papatasi. The parasite is maintained in a rodent reservoir of wild gerbils, Meriones shawi (Rodentia: Gerbilinae). The health authorities have tried to control these outbreaks in the past through rodent control, by placing strychnine-poisoned baits in rodent burrows. Though this probably contributed to declining CL case numbers, the effectiveness was not independently demonstrated, and the intervention poses health and safety concerns.
This interdisciplinary research project proposes to evaluate fipronil-treated rodent baits as an alternative ZCL control intervention that targets the sandflies but not the rodents. Fipronil is an insecticide that can be incorporated in cereal-based baits, which when ingested by the rodents will have a double effect. It kills the adult sand-flies that feed on them but also their larvae that are coprophagic on rodent feces. Contrary to strychnine, fipronil does not pose major risks of acute toxicity to animals or humans and is more effective to reduce vector abundance in initial proof-of-concept studies. Our study aims to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of the fipronil-baits to control zoonotic CL in this region, through a randomized cluster trial assessing entomological and clinical endpoints. If an effect can be demonstrated this will be a breakthrough for zoonotic leishmaniasis control, across North-Africa and the Middle-East, as there is a dire need for innovative vector control interventions.
Date:1 Nov 2018  →  Today