Blood meal sources of wild and domestic Triatoma infestans (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) in Bolivia: connectivity between cycles of transmission of Trypanosoma cruzi.
ABSTRACT: Chagas disease is a major public health problem in Latin America. Its etiologic agent, Trypanosoma cruzi, is mainly transmitted through the contaminated faeces of blood-sucking insects called triatomines. Triatoma infestans is the main vector in various countries in South America and recently, several foci of wild populations of this species have been described in Bolivia and other countries. These wild populations are suspected of affecting the success of insecticide control campaigns being carried out in South America. To assess the risk that these T. infestans populations pose to human health, it is helpful to determine blood meal sources.In the present work, blood meals were identified in various Bolivian wild T. infestans populations and in three specific areas, in both wild and intra-peridomestic populations to assess the links between wild and domestic cycles of T. cruzi transmission. PCR-HDA and sequencing of Cytb gene were used to identify these blood meal sources.Fourteen vertebrate species were identified as wild blood meal sources. Of those, the most prevalent species were two Andean endemic rodents, Octodontomys gliroides (36%) and Galea musteloides (30%), while humans were the third most prevalent source (18.7%). Of 163 blood meals from peridomestic areas, more than half were chickens, and the others were generally domestic animals or humans. Interestingly, blood from wild animals was identified in triatomines captured in the peridomestic and domestic environment, and blood from domestic animals was found in triatomines captured in the wild, revealing links between wild and domestic cycles of T. cruzi transmission.The current study suggests that wild T. infestans attack humans in the wild, but is also able to bite humans in domestic settings before going back to its natural environment. These results support the risk to human health posed by wild populations of T. infestans.
Project description:Chagas disease is one of the most significant systemic parasitosis in Latin America, caused by <i>Trypanosoma cruzi</i>, which is mainly transmitted by hematophagous insects, the triatomines. This research was carried out in both domestic and wild environments throughout a Northeastern rural locality. Triatomines were captured in both peridomicile and wild environments, obtaining 508 specimens of triatomines, of which 99.6% were <i>Triatoma brasiliensis</i>. Insects were captured in 10 (18.5%) peridomiciles with an average of 8.3 triatomines per residence. <i>Triatoma brasiliensis</i> nymphs and adults were found in six peridomiciles, generating a 11.1% colonization. No <i>T. cruzi</i> infection was detected in the 447 peridomestic insects analyzed. On the other hand, of the 55 sylvatic <i>T. brasiliensis</i> molecularly examined for <i>T. cruzi</i>, 12 (21%) were positive, all harboring <i>T. cruzi</i> I. The blood meal analysis by enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay from gut content revealed that both peridomestic and wild triatomine populations fed mainly on birds, refractory to the parasite, which may explain the null rate of natural infection prevalence in the domestic environment. However, infected triatomines for potential home infestation within the radius of insect dispersion capacity were registered in rock outcrops around the dwellings. Anthropogenic environmental influences are able to rapidly alter these scenarios. Therefore, to avoid disease transmission to humans, we recommend constant vector control combined with periodic serological surveillance. The associated methodology presented herein may serve as a model for early detections of risk factors for Chagas disease transmission in the Brazilian Northeast.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Peri-urban and urban settings have recently gained more prominence in studies on vector-borne transmission of Trypanosoma cruzi due to sustained rural-to-urban migrations and reports of urban infestations with triatomines. Prompted by the finding of Triatoma infestans across the rural-to-urban gradient in Avia Terai, an endemic municipality of the Argentine Chaco, we assessed selected components of domestic transmission risk in order to determine its variation across the gradient.<h4>Methods</h4>A baseline vector survey was conducted between October 2015 and March 2016, following which we used multistage random sampling to select a representative sample of T. infestans at the municipal level. We assessed T. cruzi infection and blood-feeding sources of 561 insects collected from 109 houses using kinetoplast DNA-PCR assays and direct enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays, respectively. We stratified triatomines according to their collection site (domestic or peridomestic), and we further categorized peridomestic sites in ecotopes of low- or high-risk for T. cruzi infection.<h4>Results</h4>The overall adjusted prevalence of T. cruzi-infected T. infestans was 1.8% (95% confidence interval [CI] 1.3-2.3) and did not differ between peri-urban (1.7%) and rural (2.2%) environments. No infection was detected in bugs captured in the urban setting; rather, infected triatomines were mainly collected in rural and peri-urban domiciles, occurring in 8% of T. infestans-infested houses. The main blood-feeding sources of domestic and peridomestic triatomines across the gradient were humans and chickens, respectively. The proportion of triatomines that had fed on humans did not differ between peri-urban (62.5%) and rural (65.7%) domiciles, peaking in the few domestic triatomines collected in urban houses and decreasing significantly with an increasing proportion of chicken- and dog- or cat-fed bugs. The relative odds ratio (OR) of having a T. cruzi infection was nearly threefold higher in bugs having a blood meal on humans (OR 3.15), dogs (OR 2.80) or cats (OR: 4.02) in a Firth-penalized multiple logistic model.<h4>Conclusions</h4>Trypanosoma cruzi transmission was likely occurring both in peri-urban and rural houses of Avia Terai. Widespread infestation in a third of urban blocks combined with high levels of human-triatomine contact in the few infested domiciles implies a threat to urban inhabitants. Vector control strategies and surveillance originally conceived for rural areas should be tailored to peri-urban and urban settings in order to achieve sustainable interruption of domestic transmission in the Chaco region.
Project description:The Paraguayan Chaco is an isolated environment with its own unique ecosystem. In this region, Chagas disease remains a health problem. Chagas disease is caused by the parasite <i>Trypanosoma cruzi</i>, and it is primarily transmitted by triatomines. In order to identify the blood meal sources of triatomines, specimens of the vector were collected in domestic and peridomestic areas and the PCR-RFLP method was implemented. Cytochrome b was amplified from the samples and later subjected to digestion with two restriction enzymes: Hae III and Xho I.It was possible to generate distinct restriction patterns on the amplified material to identify several blood meal sources for the vectors. We employed the blood from several species as positive controls: human, chicken, canine, feline, and armadillo blood. However, we identified only 3 sources for the blood meals of the insect vectors: human, chicken and canine blood. In total, 76 triatomines were captured. <i>T. cruzi</i> was not found in any of them. In 61% of the captured specimens, the blood meal sources for the vectors could be identified. In 30% of these cases, the presence of DNA from more than one vertebrate was detected in the same triatomine. The most common blood meal source found was chicken blood. The presence of human and chicken blood in triatomines captured in domestic and peridomestic areas strongly suggests that the parasite can freely move amongst both areas regardless of food availability. Free vector movement in these areas constitutes an epidemiological threat for the inhabitants of the community under study.
Project description:In Colombia, Rhodnius prolixus and Triatoma dimidiata are the main domestic triatomine species known to transmit T. cruzi. However, there are multiple reports of T. cruzi transmission involving secondary vectors. In this work, we carried out an eco-epidemiological study on Margarita Island, located in the Caribbean region of Colombia, where Chagas disease is associated with non-domiciliated vectors.To understand the transmission dynamics of Trypanosoma cruzi in this area, we designed a comprehensive, multi-faceted study including the following: (i) entomological evaluation through a community-based insect-surveillance campaign, blood meal source determination and T. cruzi infection rate estimation in triatomine insects; (ii) serological determination of T. cruzi prevalence in children under 15 years old, as well as in domestic dogs and synanthropic mammals; (iii) evaluation of T. cruzi transmission capacity in dogs and Didelphis marsupialis, and (iv) genetic characterization of T. cruzi isolates targeting spliced-leader intergene region (SL-IR) genotypes.Out of the 124 triatomines collected, 94% were Triatoma maculata, and 71.6% of them were infected with T. cruzi. Blood-meal source analysis showed that T. maculata feeds on multiple hosts, including humans and domestic dogs. Serological analysis indicated 2 of 803 children were infected, representing a prevalence of 0.25%. The prevalence in domestic dogs was 71.6% (171/224). Domestic dogs might not be competent reservoir hosts, as inferred from negative T. cruzi xenodiagnosis and haemoculture tests. However, 61.5% (8/13) of D. marsupialis, the most abundant synanthropic mammal captured, were T. cruzi-positive on xenodiagnosis and haemocultures.This study reveals the role of peridomestic T. maculata and dogs in T. cruzi persistence in this region and presents evidence that D. marsupialis are a reservoir mediating peridomestic-zoonotic cycles. This picture reflects the complexity of the transmission dynamics of T. cruzi in an endemic area with non-domiciliated vectors where active human infection exists. There is an ongoing need to control peridomestic T. maculata populations and to implement continuous reservoir surveillance strategies with community participation.
Project description:Despite large-scale reductions in Chagas disease prevalence across Central and South America, Trypanosoma cruzi infection remains a considerable public health problem in the Gran Chaco region where vector-borne transmission persists. In these communities, peridomestic animals are major blood-meal sources for triatomines, and household presence of infected dogs increases T. cruzi transmission risk for humans. To address the pressing need for field-friendly, complementary methods to reduce triatomine infestation and interrupt T. cruzi transmission, this study evaluated the systemic activity of three commercial, oral, single dose insecticides Fluralaner (Bravecto®), Afoxolaner (NexGard®) and Spinosad (Comfortis®) in canine feed-through assays against Triatoma infestans, the principal domestic vector species in the Southern Cone of South America.Twelve healthy, outbred dogs were recruited from the Zoonosis Surveillance and Control Program in Santa Cruz, Bolivia, and randomized to three treatment groups, each containing one control and three treated dogs. Following oral drug administration, colony-reared second and third stage T. infestans instars were offered to feed on dogs for 30 min at 2, 7, 21, 34 and 51 days post-treatment.Eighty-five per cent (768/907) of T. infestans successfully blood-fed during bioassays, with significantly higher proportions of bugs becoming fully-engorged when exposed to Bravecto® treated dogs (P < 0.001) for reasons unknown. Exposure to Bravecto® or NexGard® induced 100% triatomine mortality in fully- or semi-engorged bugs within 5 days of feeding for the entire follow-up period. The lethality effect for Comfortis® was much lower (50-70%) and declined almost entirely after 51 days. Instead Comfortis® treatment resulted in substantial morbidity; of these, 30% fully recovered whereas 53% remained morbid after 120 h, the latter subsequently unable to feed 30 days later.A single oral dose of Fluralaner or Afoxolaner was safe and well tolerated, producing complete triatomine mortality on treated dogs over 7.3 weeks. While both drugs were highly efficacious, more bugs exposed to Fluralaner took complete blood-meals, and experienced rapid knock-down. Coupled with its longer residual activity, Fluralaner represents an ideal insecticide for development into a complementary, operationally-feasible, community-level method of reducing triatomine infestation and potentially controlling T. cruzi transmission, in the Gran Chaco region.
Project description:BACKGROUND:The identification of Trypanosoma cruzi and blood-meal sources in synanthropic triatomines is important to assess the potential risk of Chagas disease transmission. We identified T. cruzi infection and blood-meal sources of triatomines caught in and around houses in the state of Bahia, northeastern Brazil, and mapped the occurrence of infected triatomines that fed on humans and domestic animals. METHODS:Triatominae bugs were manually captured by trained agents from the Epidemiologic Surveillance team of Bahia State Health Service between 2013 and 2014. We applied conventional PCR to detect T. cruzi and blood-meal sources (dog, cat, human and bird) in a randomized sample of triatomines. We mapped triatomine distribution and analyzed vector hotspots with kernel density spatial analysis. RESULTS:In total, 5906 triatomines comprising 15 species were collected from 127 out of 417 municipalities in Bahia. The molecular analyses of 695 triatomines revealed a ~10% T. cruzi infection rate, which was highest in the T. brasiliensis species complex. Most bugs were found to have fed on birds (74.2%), and other blood-meal sources included dogs (6%), cats (0.6%) and humans (1%). Trypanosoma cruzi-infected triatomines that fed on humans were detected inside houses. Spatial analysis showed a wide distribution of T. cruzi-infected triatomines throughout Bahia; triatomines that fed on dogs, humans, and cats were observed mainly in the northeast region. CONCLUSIONS:Synanthropic triatomines have a wide distribution and maintain the potential risk of T. cruzi transmission to humans and domestic animals in Bahia. Ten species were recorded inside houses, mainly Triatoma sordida, T. pseudomaculata, and the T. brasiliensis species complex. Molecular and spatial analysis are useful to reveal T. cruzi infection and blood-meal sources in synanthropic triatomines, identifying areas with ongoing threat for parasite transmission and improving entomological surveillance strategies.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Triatomines are vectors of Trypanosoma cruzi, the etiological agent of Chagas disease in Latin America. The most effective vector, Triatoma infestans, has been controlled successfully in much of Latin America using insecticide spraying. Though rarely undertaken, surveillance programs are necessary in order to identify new infestations and estimate the intensity of triatomine bug infestations in domestic and peridomestic habitats. Since hosts exposed to triatomines develop immune responses to salivary antigens, these responses can be evaluated for their usefulness as epidemiological markers to detect infestations of T. infestans.<h4>Methodology/principal findings</h4>T. infestans salivary proteins were separated by 2D-gel electrophoresis and tested for their immunogenicity by Western blotting using sera from chickens and guinea pigs experimentally exposed to T. infestans. From five highly immunogenic protein spots, eight salivary proteins were identified by nano liquid chromatography-electrospray ionization-tandem mass spectrometry (nanoLC-ESI-MS/MS) and comparison to the protein sequences of the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) database and expressed sequence tags of a unidirectionally cloned salivary gland cDNA library from T. infestans combined with the NCBI yeast protein sub-database. The 14.6 kDa salivary protein [gi|149689094] was produced as recombinant protein (rTiSP14.6) in a mammalian cell expression system and recognized by all animal sera. The specificity of rTiSP14.6 was confirmed by the lack of reactivity to anti-mosquito and anti-sand fly saliva antibodies. However, rTiSP14.6 was recognized by sera from chickens exposed to four other triatomine species, Triatoma brasiliensis, T. sordida, Rhodnius prolixus, and Panstrongylus megistus and by sera of chickens from an endemic area of T. infestans and Chagas disease in Bolivia.<h4>Conclusions/significance</h4>The recombinant rTiSP14.6 is a suitable and promising epidemiological marker for detecting the presence of small numbers of different species of triatomines and could be developed for use as a new tool in surveillance programs, especially to corroborate vector elimination in Chagas disease vector control campaigns.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>The demographic transition of populations from rural areas to large urban centers often results in a disordered occupation of forest remnants and increased economic pressure to develop high-income buildings in these areas. Ecological and socioeconomic factors associated with these urban transitions create conditions for the potential transmission of infectious diseases, which was demonstrated for Chagas disease.<h4>Methodology/principal findings</h4>We analyzed 930 triatomines, mainly Triatoma tibiamaculata, collected in artificial and sylvatic environments (forests near houses) of a suburban area of the city of Salvador, Bahia State, Brazil between 2007 and 2011. Most triatomines were captured at peridomiciles. Adult bugs predominated in all studied environments, and nymphs were scarce inside houses. Molecular analyses of a randomly selected sub-sample (n=212) of triatomines showed Trypanosoma cruzi infection rates of 65%, 50% and 56% in intradomestic, peridomestic and sylvatic environments, respectively. We detected the T. cruzi lineages I and II and mixed infections. We also showed that T. tibiamaculata fed on blood from birds (50%), marsupials (38%), ruminants (7%) and rodents (5%). The probability of T. cruzi infection was higher in triatomines that fed on marsupial blood (odds ratio (OR) = 1.95, 95% confidence interval (CI) = 1.22-3.11). Moreover, we observed a protective effect against infection in bugs that fed on bird blood (OR = 0.43, 95% CI = 0.30-0.73).<h4>Conclusions/significance</h4>The frequent invasion of houses by infected triatomines indicates a potential risk of T. cruzi transmission to inhabitants in this area. Our results reinforce that continuous epidemiological surveillance should be performed in areas where domestic transmission is controlled but enzootic transmission persists.
Project description:After the decrease of the relative importance of Triatoma infestans, a number of studies reported the occurrence of sylvatic triatomines dispersing actively to domestic environments in the dry western Chaco Region of Argentina. Anthropic modification of the landscape is mentioned as one of the main causes of the increase in domicile invasion. The aim of this study was to describe the occurrence and frequency of sylvatic triatomines invading rural houses, and to evaluate the effect of habitat fragmentation and other ecological factors on the invasion of rural houses in central Argentina. We hypothesized that the decrease in food sources and the loss of wild ecotopes, as a consequence of habitat fragmentation, increase the chances of invasion by triatomines. The entomological data was collected by community-based vector surveillance during fieldwork carried out between 2017-2020, over 131 houses located in fourteen rural communities in the northwest of Córdoba Province (central Argentina). We used generalized linear models to evaluate the effect of (i) the environmental anthropic disturbance in the study area, (ii) the composition and configuration of the landscape surrounding the house, (iii) the spatial arrangement of houses, (iv) and the availability of artificial refuges and domestic animals in the peridomicile, on house invasion by triatomines. We report the occurrence of seven species of triatomines invading rural houses in the study area -T. infestans, T. guasayana, T. garciabesi, T. platensis, T. delpontei, T. breyeri and P. guentheri-. Study data suggest that invasion by triatomines occurs with higher frequency in disturbed landscapes, with houses spatially isolated and in proximity to subdivided fragments of forest. The availability of domestic refuges in the peridomestic structures as well as the presence of a higher number of domestic animals increase the chances of invasion by triatomines.
Project description:Understanding the blood meal patterns of insects that are vectors of diseases is fundamental in unveiling transmission dynamics and developing strategies to impede or decrease human-vector contact. Chagas disease has a complex transmission cycle that implies interactions between vectors, parasites and vertebrate hosts. In Ecuador, limited data on human infection are available; however, the presence of active transmission in endemic areas has been demonstrated. The aim of this study was to determine the diversity of hosts that serve as sources of blood for triatomines in domestic, peridomestic and sylvatic transmission cycles, in two endemic areas of Ecuador (central coastal and southern highland regions). Using conserved primers and DNA extracted from 507 intestinal content samples from five species of triatomines (60 <i>Panstrongylus chinai</i>, 17 <i>Panstrongylus howardi</i>, 1 <i>Panstrongylus rufotuberculatus</i>, 427 <i>Rhodnius ecuadoriensis</i> and 2 <i>Triatoma carrioni</i>) collected from 2006 to 2013, we amplified fragments of the <i>cytb</i> mitochondrial gene. After sequencing, blood meal sources were identified in 416 individuals (146 from central coastal and 270 from southern highland regions), achieving ? 95% identity with GenBank sequences (NCBI-BLAST tool). The results showed that humans are the main source of food for triatomines, indicating that human-vector contact is more frequent than previously thought. Although other groups of mammals, such as rodents, are also an available source of blood, birds (particularly chickens) might have a predominant role in the maintenance of triatomines in these areas. However, the diversity of sources of blood found might indicate a preference driven by triatomine species. Moreover, the presence of more than one source of blood in triatomines collected in the same place indicated that dispersal of vectors occurs regardless the availability of food. Dispersal capacity of triatomines needs to be evaluated to propose an effective strategy that limits human-vector contact and, in consequence, to decrease the risk of <i>T. cruzi</i> transmission.