||<p>While the Madre de Dios department of Peru has the nation's highest leishmaniasis
incidence, limited research on the disease and its sand fly vector exists in the region.
Considering the diverse and adaptive nature of sand flies, understanding vector ecology
is essential to directing leishmaniasis control efforts. This study addresses this
need by investigating the following aims: 1) describe sand fly abundance and biodiversity
in communities along the Madre de Dios River; 2) identify environmental and socio-demographic
factors associated with sand fly abundance and biodiversity in these communities;
and 3) examine ecological risk factors associated with leishmaniasis in the communities.
In order to accomplish these aims, the research team collected sand flies, obtained
leishmaniasis case data, conducted community and household surveys, measured soil
samples and studied land cover data in communities along the Madre de Dios River.
We compared sand fly abundance, sand fly biodiversity and leishmaniasis incidence
with soil chemistry, socio-demographic and land cover measures. We ran negative binomial
regressions and Poisson regressions to investigate bivariate relationships between
dependent and independent variables. We developed a multivariate model that predicts
greater potential vector and non-vector abundance in areas with greater forest coverage,
lower infrastructure indices and lower soil pH. This study provides an important overview
of endemic sand fly fauna in Madre de Dios and presents an initial description of
factors associated with sand fly populations in the region.</p>