Research Article

The kinetics of maturation of trypanosome infections in tsetse

C. Dalea1a2, S. C. Welburna1, I. Maudlina1* and P. J. M. Milligana2

a1 Tsetse Research Group, University of Bristol, Department of Veterinary Medicine, Longford House, Longford, Bristol BS18 7DU

a2 Liverpool School of Tropical Medicine, Pembroke Place, Liverpool L3 5QA


Estimates of the time delay between the infective bloodmeal and maturation (incubation or maturation time) for 4 trypanosome stocks (2 Trypanozoon and 2 Trypanosoma congolense) show that maturation time in tsetse is not a parasite species-specific constant. The mean incubation time of a Trypanosoma brucei rhodesiense stock (EATRO 2340 – 18 days) was not significantly different from one T. congolense stock (SIKUDA88 – 15·5 days) but was significantly greater than another (1/148 FLY9 – 12·5 days). There was no significant difference in incubation times between male and female Glossina morsitans morsitans for any of the stocks but in both of the Trypanozoon stocks the proportion of female flies producing mature infections was significantly less than in males. However, estimates of gene frequency, assuming a model in which maturation is controlled by an X-linked recessive allele, gave inconsistent results indicating that maturation cannot be controlled by a single sex-linked gene. Maturation was shown to be a tsetse sex-dependent phenomenon in Trypanozoon but not in T. congolense infections. Incubation time was quite variable even for a single trypanosome stock (e.g. standard deviation of 5 days for one Trypanozoon stock); we discuss how this variability can affect disease transmission, and the interpretation of age-prevalence data.

(Received November 08 1994)

(Revised January 19 1995)

(Accepted January 19 1995)


* Reprint requests to Dr I. Maudlin, Tsetse Research Group, University of Bristol, Department of Veterinary Medicine, Langford House, Langford, Bristol BS18 7DU.