Spatial re-establishment dynamics of local populations of vectors of Chagas disease.
ABSTRACT: Prevention of Chagas disease depends mainly on control of the insect vectors that transmit infection. Unfortunately, the vectors have been resurgent in some areas. It is important to understand the dynamics of reinfestation where it occurs. Here we show how continuous- and discrete-time models fitted to patch-level infestation states can elucidate different aspects of re-establishment. Triatoma infestans, the main vector of Chagas disease, reinfested sites in three villages in northwest Argentina after community-wide insecticide spraying in October 1992.Different methods of estimating the probabilities of bug establishment on each site were compared. The results confirmed previous results showing a 6-month time lag between detection of a new infestation and dispersal events. The analysis showed that more new bug populations become established from May to November than from November to May. This seasonal increase in bug establishment coincides with a seasonal increase in dispersal distance. In the fitted models, the probability of new bug establishment increases with increasing time since last detected infestation.These effects of season and previous infestation on bug establishment challenge our current understanding of T. infestans ecology and highlight important gaps in knowledge. Experiments necessary to close these gaps are discussed.
Project description:1. Prevention of Chagas disease is mainly dependent on control of the insect vectors that transmit infection. Unfortunately, this control is not wholly successful and the vectors have been resurgent in some areas. Where re-infestation has occurred, it is important to understand the dynamics of the process. We investigated how a metapopulation framework can elucidate key aspects of re-infestation and thereby contribute to more efficient disease control.2.Triatoma infestans, the main vector of Chagas disease, re-infested sites in three villages in north-west Argentina after community-wide insecticide spraying in October 1992. Ten surveys were carried out at 6-monthly intervals from November 1994 to May 1999.3. Comparisons were made of different methods of estimating the sources of dispersal and the number of sites in which bug infestations became established.4. The results indicated that (i) the number of dispersing Triatoma infestans from a given site was proportional to the number of bugs found at the site; (ii) there was a 6-month time lag between detection of a new infestation and dispersal events; (iii) the relationship between infestations and new establishments varied by season.5. Three of 156 sites at which bugs were found were estimated to be the source of more than 50% of establishment events. These three sites were the only ones with large, persistent bug populations.6.Synthesis and applications. To reduce the risk of human Chagas disease, identifying those few sites infested with large, persistent bug populations and targeting control measures at those sites should greatly improve the efficiency of vector control. The appropriate seasonal timing of vector control could also greatly increase its efficiency. Specific recommendations for the timing of insecticide spraying require further research to establish how the observed temporal pattern of bug establishment is associated with the seasonality of bug dispersal.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The Gran Chaco ecoregion, a hotspot for Chagas and other neglected tropical diseases, is home to >20 indigenous peoples. Our objective was to identify the main ecological and sociodemographic determinants of house infestation and abundance of Triatoma infestans in traditional Qom populations including a Creole minority in Pampa del Indio, northeastern Argentina. METHODS:A cross-sectional survey determined house infestation by timed-manual searches with a dislodging aerosol in 386 inhabited houses and administered questionnaires on selected variables before full-coverage insecticide spraying and annual vector surveillance. We fitted generalized linear models to two global models of domestic infestation and bug abundance, and estimated coefficients via multimodel inference with model averaging. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:Most Qom households were larger and lived in small-sized, recently-built, precarious houses with fewer peridomestic structures, and fewer livestock and poultry than Creoles'. Qom households had lower educational level and unexpectedly high residential mobility. House infestation (31.9%) was much lower than expected from lack of recent insecticide spraying campaigns and was spatially aggregated. Nearly half of the infested houses examined had infected vectors. Qom households had higher prevalence of domestic infestation (29.2%) than Creoles' (10.0%), although there is large uncertainty around the adjusted OR. Factors with high relative importance for domestic infestation and/or bug abundance were refuge availability, distance to the nearest infested house, domestic insecticide use, indoor presence of poultry, residential overcrowding, and household educational level. CONCLUSIONS AND SIGNIFICANCE:Our study highlights the importance of sociodemographic determinants of domestic infestation such as overcrowding, education and proximity to the nearest infested house, and corroborates the role of refuge availability, domestic use of insecticides and household size. These factors may be used for designing improved interventions for sustainable disease control and risk stratification. Housing instability, household mobility and migration patterns are key to understanding the process of house (re)infestation in the Gran Chaco.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Triatoma infestans -the principal vector of the infection that causes Chagas disease- defies elimination efforts in the Gran Chaco region. This study identifies the types of human-made or -used structures that are key sources of these bugs in the initial stages of house reinfestation after an insecticide spraying campaign. METHODOLOGY AND PRINCIPAL FINDINGS:We measured demographic and blood-feeding parameters at two geographic scales in 11 rural communities in Figueroa, northwest Argentina. Of 1,297 sites searched in spring, 279 (21.5%) were infested. Bug abundance per site and female fecundity differed significantly among habitat types (ecotopes) and were highly aggregated. Domiciles (human sleeping quarters) had maximum infestation prevalence (38.7%), human-feeding bugs and total egg production, with submaximal values for other demographic and blood-feeding attributes. Taken collectively peridomestic sites were three times more often infested than domiciles. Chicken coops had greater bug abundance, blood-feeding rates, engorgement status, and female fecundity than pig and goat corrals. The host-feeding patterns were spatially structured yet there was strong evidence of active dispersal of late-stage bugs between ecotopes. Two flight indices predicted that female fliers were more likely to originate from kitchens and domiciles, rejecting our initial hypothesis that goat and pig corrals would dominate. CONCLUSIONS AND SIGNIFICANCE:Chicken coops and domiciles were key source habitats fueling rapid house reinfestation. Focusing control efforts on ecotopes with human-fed bugs (domiciles, storerooms, goat corrals) would neither eliminate the substantial contributions to bug population growth from kitchens, chicken coops, and pig corrals nor stop dispersal of adult female bugs from kitchens. Rather, comprehensive control of the linked network of ecotopes is required to prevent feeding on humans, bug population growth, and bug dispersal simultaneously. Our study illustrates a demographic approach that may be applied to other regions and triatomine species for the design of innovative, improved vector control strategies.
Project description:Chagas disease is a vector-borne disease endemic in Latin America. Triatoma infestans, a common vector of this disease, has recently expanded its range into rapidly developing cities of Latin America. We aim to identify the environmental features that affect the colonization and dispersal of T. infestans in an urban environment. We amplified 13 commonly used microsatellites from 180 T. infestans samples collected from a sampled transect in the city of Arequipa, Peru, in 2007 and 2011. We assessed the clustering of subpopulations and the effect of distance, sampling year, and city block location on genetic distance among pairs of insects. Despite evidence of genetic similarity, the majority of city blocks are characterized by one dominant insect genotype, suggesting the existence of barriers to dispersal. Our analyses show that streets represent an important barrier to the colonization and dispersion of T. infestans in Arequipa. The genetic data describe a T. infestans infestation history characterized by persistent local dispersal and occasional long-distance migration events that partially parallels the history of urban development.
Project description:Triatoma infestans, the main vector of Chagas disease in the southern cone countries, is the principal target of a regional elimination program. A better understanding of its dispersal, sources of reinfestation, and insecticide resistance is key to an effective control program. To address such problems, we identified and characterized 13 microsatellite loci of T. infestans. For each locus, primer sequences and PCR conditions are presented. Allele variability and frequency were analyzed in 59 T. infestans specimens from different rural communities in northwestern Argentina; nine loci were considered suitable for population genetic studies. Departure from Hardy-Weinberg equilibrium was detected in 10/13 loci with F(IS) values ranging from 0.04 to 0.91, indicating heterozygote deficit and a possible grade of sub-structure in the sample analyzed. Presence of null alleles in some loci cannot be discarded. The present work provides a promising tool to develop a population genetic study of natural populations of T. infestans in tandem with field studies and analyses of bug dispersal and the reinfestation process.
Project description:The increasing rate of biological invasions resulting from human transport or human-mediated changes to the environment has had devastating ecological and public health consequences. The kissing bug, Triatoma infestans, has dispersed through the Peruvian city of Arequipa. The biological invasion of this insect has resulted in a public health crisis, putting thousands of residents of this city at risk of infection by Trypanosoma cruzi and subsequent development of Chagas disease. Here, we show that populations of Tria. infestans in geographically distinct districts within and around this urban centre share a common recent evolutionary history although current gene flow is restricted even between proximal sites. The population structure among the Tria. infestans in different districts is not correlated with the geographical distance between districts. These data suggest that migration among the districts is mediated by factors beyond the short-range migratory capabilities of Tria. infestans and that human movement has played a significant role in the structuring of the Tria. infestans population in the region. Rapid urbanization across southern South America will continue to create suitable environments for Tria. infestans, and knowledge of its urban dispersal patterns may play a fundamental role in mitigating human disease risk.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The occurrence of the major vectors of Chagas disease has historically been linked to poor rural housing, but urban or peri-urban infestations are increasingly being reported. We evaluated a simple risk index to detect houses infested with Triatoma infestans and tested whether house infestation and vector abundance increased across the urban-to-rural gradient in Avia Terai, an endemic municipality of the Argentine Chaco; whether the association between infestation and selected ecological determinants varied across the gradient; and whether urban and peri-urban infestations were associated with population settlement history. METHODS:We conducted a screening survey of house infestation in 2296 urban, peri-urban and rural dwellings to identify high-risk houses based on a simple index, and then searched for triatomines in all high-risk houses and in a systematic sample of low-risk houses. RESULTS:The risk index had maximum sensitivity and negative predictive value, and low specificity. The combined number of infested houses in peri-urban and urban areas equalled that in rural areas. House infestation prevalence was 4.5%, 22.7% and 42.4% across the gradient, and paralleled the increasing trend in the frequency of domestic animals and peridomestic structures. Multiple logistic regression analysis showed that house infestation was positively and significantly associated with the availability of poultry and bug refuges in walls, and was negatively associated with domestic insecticide use. Several pieces of evidence, including absence of spatial aggregation of house infestation, support that T. infestans has been a long-established occupant of urban, peri-urban and rural settings in Avia Terai. CONCLUSIONS:An integrated vector management strategy targeting chicken coops and good husbandry practices may provide more cost-effective returns to insecticide-based vector elimination efforts.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Large spatial and temporal fluctuations in the population density of living organisms have profound consequences for biodiversity conservation, food production, pest control and disease control, especially vector-borne disease control. Chagas disease vector control based on insecticide spraying could benefit from improved concepts and methods to deal with spatial variations in vector population density.<h4>Methodology/principal findings</h4>We show that Taylor's law (TL) of fluctuation scaling describes accurately the mean and variance over space of relative abundance, by habitat, of four insect vectors of Chagas disease (Triatoma infestans, Triatoma guasayana, Triatoma garciabesi and Triatoma sordida) in 33,908 searches of people's dwellings and associated habitats in 79 field surveys in four districts in the Argentine Chaco region, before and after insecticide spraying. As TL predicts, the logarithm of the sample variance of bug relative abundance closely approximates a linear function of the logarithm of the sample mean of abundance in different habitats. Slopes of TL indicate spatial aggregation or variation in habitat suitability. Predictions of new mathematical models of the effect of vector control measures on TL agree overall with field data before and after community-wide spraying of insecticide.<h4>Conclusions/significance</h4>A spatial Taylor's law identifies key habitats with high average infestation and spatially highly variable infestation, providing a new instrument for the control and elimination of the vectors of a major human disease.
Project description:Modern cities represent one of the fastest growing ecosystems on the planet. Urbanization occurs in stages; each stage characterized by a distinct habitat that may be more or less susceptible to the establishment of disease vector populations and the transmission of vector-borne pathogens. We performed longitudinal entomological and epidemiological surveys in households along a 1900 × 125 m transect of Arequipa, Peru, a major city of nearly one million inhabitants, in which the transmission of Trypanosoma cruzi, the aetiological agent of Chagas disease, by the insect vector Triatoma infestans, is an ongoing problem. The transect spans a cline of urban development from established communities to land invasions. We find that the vector is tracking the development of the city, and the parasite, in turn, is tracking the dispersal of the vector. New urbanizations are free of vector infestation for decades. T. cruzi transmission is very recent and concentrated in more established communities. The increase in land tenure security during the course of urbanization, if not accompanied by reasonable and enforceable zoning codes, initiates an influx of construction materials, people and animals that creates fertile conditions for epidemics of some vector-borne diseases.
Project description:Chagas disease remains a serious obstacle to health and economic development in Latin America, especially for the rural poor. We report the long-term effects of interventions in rural villages in northern Argentina during 1984-2006. Two community-wide campaigns of residual insecticide spraying immediately and strongly reduced domestic infestation and infection with Trypanosoma cruzi in Triatoma infestans bugs and dogs and more gradually reduced the seroprevalence of children <15 years of age. Because no effective surveillance and control actions followed the first campaign in 1985, transmission resurged in 2-3 years. Renewed interventions in 1992 followed by sustained, supervised, community-based vector control largely suppressed the reestablishment of domestic bug colonies and finally led to the interruption of local human T. cruzi transmission. Human incidence of infection was nearly an order of magnitude higher in peripheral rural areas under pulsed, unsupervised, community-based interventions, where human transmission became apparent in 2000. The sustained, supervised, community-based strategy nearly interrupted domestic transmission to dogs but did not eliminate T. infestans despite the absence of pyrethroid-insecticide resistance. T. infestans persisted in part because of the lack of major changes in housing construction and quality. Sustained community participation grew out of establishing a trusted relationship with the affected communities and the local schools. The process included health promotion and community mobilization, motivation, and supervision in close cooperation with locally nominated leaders.