Identification of Flea Blood Meals Using Multiplexed Real-Time Polymerase Chain Reaction Targeting Mitochondrial Gene Fragments

is found in the West Nile region of Uganda and Democratic Republic of the Congo where flea vectors are often found inhabiting homes. We have developed a multiplexed, real-time polymerase chain reaction assay targeting mitochondrial genes that is capable of detecting blood meal sources in fleas collected off-host in East Africa. Laboratory tests showed that the assay is specific for the intended targets and has a detection limit below one picogram of DNA. Testing of wild-caught fleas from the Democratic Republic of Congo suggests that humans are at significant risk from flea-borne disease and implicates domestic animals including cats, chickens, and the black rat as potential sources of human exposure to fleas and flea-borne diseases. Future application of the assay will help us better define the ecology of plague in East Africa to implement effective control measures to combat the spread of disease.
Human plague, Multiplexed Real-Time Polymerase Chain
Woods, M. E., Montenieri, J. A., Eisen, R. J., Zeidner, N. S., Borchert, J. N., Laudisoit, A., ... & Gage, K. L. (2009). Identification of flea blood meals using multiplexed real-time polymerase chain reaction targeting mitochondrial gene fragments. The American journal of tropical medicine and hygiene, 80(6), 998-1003. DOI: