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Parasit Vectors. 2018 Sep 6;11(1):502. doi: 10.1186/s13071-018-3067-2.

Trypanosoma cruzi transmission in the wild and its most important reservoir hosts in Brazil.

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Laboratório de Biologia de Tripanosomatídeos, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz/FIOCRUZ, Av. Brasil 4365, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, CEP. 21040-360, Brazil.
Laboratório de Biologia de Tripanosomatídeos, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz/FIOCRUZ, Av. Brasil 4365, Rio de Janeiro, RJ, CEP. 21040-360, Brazil.


Trypanosoma cruzi (Kinetoplastea: Trypanosomatidae) infects all tissues of its hosts, which along with humans, include hundreds of mammalian species in the Americas. The epidemiology of T. cruzi has been changing in that currently the majority of the cases and/or outbreaks of Chagas disease occur by the ingestion of comestibles contaminated by T. cruzi metacyclic forms. These cases/outbreaks occur in distinct regional scenarios, mainly in the Amazon biome and are related to the local interaction mode of humans with their surroundings, as well as with the overall local ecological peculiarities. As trypanosomiasis caused by T. cruzi is primarily a zoonosis, understanding the variables that influences its transmission in the wild as well as the role played by the extant fauna in the maintenance of the parasite, is critical in establishing control measures. Here, we present the results of our studies of T. cruzi infection of free ranging wild mammalian fauna in the five biomes of Brazil, a country of continental dimensions. From 1992 up to 2017, we examined a total of 6587 free-ranging non-volant wild mammal specimens. Our studies found that 17% of mammals were seropositive and 8% of all animals displayed positive hemocultures indicative of high parasitemia and, consequently, of infectivity potential. We observed that opossums, mainly Philander spp. and Didelphis spp., the coati Nasua nasua, the capuchin monkey Sapajus libidinosus and the golden lion tamarin Leontopithecus rosalia, were mammal taxa that demonstrated higher rates of positive hemocultures. Additionally, Didelphis spp. demonstrated to be a competent bioaccumulator of TcI diversity. Chiroptera were distinguished for hosting the greatest diversity of species and genotypes of Trypanosoma spp. Additionally the observation of the higher host range of some Trypanosoma spp., shows the need to reassess the ecology of representatives of the taxon. Altogether, our results showed that each locality, may display distinct enzootiological and epidemiological scenarios that must be taken into account when it comes to establishing control and/or clarification campaigns of the local population.


Carnivores; Opossums; Primates; Transmission cycle; Trypanosoma cruzi; Wildlife reservoirs

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