Link to Pubmed [PMID] – 21126503
Acta Trop. 2011 Mar;117(3):183-8
Invading rodent species can harbor parasites with potential transmission to native rodents and/or humans. To investigate trypanosomes prevalence in rodents, the spleen of 76 rodents from Niger identified by their karyotype was used as a DNA source for Trypanosoma detection using a newly developed qPCR assay. Of the invasive black rat, Rattus rattus, 71% (10/14) were PCR positive as well as 6% (4/62) of native African rodents. Sequences of ~400bp of the SSU rDNA gene identified phylogenetically close Trypanosoma lineages. Trypanosoma lewisi was present in all positive black rats and the sequences displayed 100% similarity with T. lewisi-infected humans in Senegal. T. lewisi was also detected in one Acomys johannis, suggesting a possible transmission to native species. In addition to improved knowledge of Trypanosoma diversity in rodents, our data underscore the introduction of the potentially pathogenic T. lewisi kinetoplastid through the human-mediated invasion of black rats all over West Africa.