In the gut of some insect vectors, parasites ingested with the bloodmeal decrease in number before coming into contact with host tissues. Many factors could be responsible for this reduction in parasite number but the potentially important role of the large communities of naturally occurring microorganisms that exist alongside the newly ingested parasites in the vector midgut has been largely overlooked. Some previous reports exist of the inhibition of parasite development by vector gut microbiota and of the killing of Trypanosoma cruzi and Plasmodium spp. by prodigiosin produced by bacteria. Based on this evidence, we believe that the microbiota present in the midgut of vector insects could have important roles as determinants of parasite survival and development in insect vector hosts and, therefore, contribute to the modulation of vector competence for many important diseases. ?? 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
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