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Am J Trop Med Hyg. 1998 Jun;58(6):748-58.

Influence of humans and domestic animals on the household prevalence of Trypanosoma cruzi in Triatoma infestans populations in northwest Argentina.

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Departamento de Ciencias Biologicos, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina.


In three rural villages of northwest Argentina, the overall proportion of domiciliary Triatoma infestans infected with Trypanosoma cruzi was 49% among 1,316 bugs individually examined for infection in March and October 1992). Most of the variation among individual households in the proportion of infected triatomines was explained by variations among houses in the proportion of bugs that fed on dogs or cats, the prevalence of infected dogs or cats, and the proportion of bugs that fed on humans, according to a logistic multiple regression analysis. The effects of human infection rates on bug infection rates were not statistically significant. After adjusting for the effects of other predictors, the presence of chickens in bedroom areas had negative and significant effects on the proportion of infected Triatoma infestans, and positive and significant effects on the number of T. cruzi-infected triatomines collected per person-hr per house. Dog or cat infection rates and the proportion of bugs that fed on dogs or cats and on chickens explained 80% of the total variance of infected-bug numbers in a linear multiple regression model. This is the first study to use detailed field data to show that variations in triatomine infection rates depend on bug host feeding patterns and dog or cat infection rates, while the presence of chickens in bedroom areas exerts opposite effects on the proportion and number of infected triatomines. Domestic animals play a crucial role in the domiciliary transmission of T. cruzi.

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