1*D. M. Dibal, 2D. B. Maikaje, 1Y. A. Umar and 1B. C. Onusiriuka
1 Department of Biological Sciences, Nigerian Defence Academy Kaduna
2 Department of Microbiology, Kaduna State University, Kaduna.
*Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org
Blackflies (Simulium damnosum) found along fast-flowing rivers and streams is the vector of the disease-causing organism, Onchocerca volvulus which is transmitted through the bite of the fly during blood-feeding on humans resulting in ultimately irreversible blindness and debilitating skin disease which brings about the restriction of social activities and economic
development in areas of agricultural activities located near fast flowing streams and rivers. This study was aimed at determining the distribution and molecular characterization of blackflies infected with Simulium damnosum and the physicochemical parameters of the water along river Zururu Malalin Gabas Kaduna. About 150 blackflies were collected from the sampling station, river zururu which is a tributary that terminates into river Kaduna at Malalin gabas Kaduna, using a hand scooping net and preserved using 80% ethanol from October 2015 to November 2016. The 150 flies collected were separated into pools of 50 for DNA extraction. Purified DNA obtained was subjected to PCR analysis and amplified using the 12SrRNA forward and reverse primers for the Simulium species and the 0-150OV forward and reverse primers for the Onchocerca volvulus. The gene amplification using the 12SrRNA generated a band size of 196bp for the blackfly species and the
0-150OV generated a band size of 190bp for the Onchocerca volvulus. Sequencing and BLAST of the PCR products using the 12SrRNA confirmed the following identities. Simulium damnosum (93%), S. maklarini (90%), S. laterale (90%), and S. middlemissae (78%). The results from these studies show without any doubt that there is a presence of blackflies actively feeding in the area and are infected with Onchocerca volvulus, and also their distribution is correlated with physicochemical parameters of the river waters.