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PLoS One. 2012;7(7):e41284. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0041284. Epub 2012 Jul 25.

Trypanosoma cruzi IV causing outbreaks of acute Chagas disease and infections by different haplotypes in the Western Brazilian Amazonia.

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  • 1Tropical Medicine Foundation Dr. Heitor Vieira Dourado, Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil.



Chagas disease is an emergent tropical disease in the Brazilian Amazon Region, with an increasing number of cases in recent decades. In this region, the sylvatic cycle of Trypanosoma cruzi transmission, which constitutes a reservoir of parasites that might be associated with specific molecular, epidemiological and clinical traits, has been little explored. The objective of this work is to genetically characterize stocks of T. cruzi from human cases, triatomines and reservoir mammals in the State of Amazonas, in the Western Brazilian Amazon.


We analyzed 96 T. cruzi samples from four municipalities in distant locations of the State of Amazonas. Molecular characterization of isolated parasites from cultures in LIT medium or directly from vectors or whole human blood was performed by PCR of the non-transcribed spacer of the mini-exon and of the 24 S alfa ribosomal RNA gene, RFLP and sequencing of the mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase subunit II (COII) gene, and by sequencing of the glucose-phosphate isomerase gene. The T. cruzi parasites from two outbreaks of acute disease were all typed as TcIV. One of the outbreaks was triggered by several haplotypes of the same DTU. TcIV also occurred in isolated cases and in Rhodnius robustus. Incongruence between mitochondrial and nuclear phylogenies is likely to be indicative of historical genetic exchange events resulting in mitochondrial introgression between TcIII and TcIV DTUs from Western Brazilian Amazon. TcI predominated among triatomines and was the unique DTU infecting marsupials.


DTU TcIV, rarely associated with human Chagas disease in other areas of the Amazon basin, is the major strain responsible for the human infections in the Western Brazilian Amazon, occurring in outbreaks as single or mixed infections by different haplotypes.

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