Investigation of Chagas disease in four periurban areas in northeastern Brazil: epidemiologic survey in man, vectors, non-human hosts and reservoirs

Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg. 2012 Mar;106(3):143-9. doi: 10.1016/j.trstmh.2011.10.013. Epub 2011 Dec 1.


Chagas disease was investigated in four periurban areas of Ceará state, northeastern Brazil, through serological, parasitological and molecular methods in humans, reservoirs and vectors. A cross-sectional survey revealed a seroprevalence rate of 1.2% (13/1076 residents, six also proving positive through PCR). Trypanosoma cruzi infection was not detected in children under 10 years old. Triatoma pseudomaculata prevailed in the peridomiciles: 63 specimens, 69% (34/49) infected with trypanosomatids. Rhodnius nasutus was captured in Copernicia prunifera palm trees (n=280; 25.0% infected with trypanosomatids) and inside dwellings (n=8, all uninfected). Trypanosoma cruzi seropositive reservoirs, represented by Didelphis albiventris (n=27), Rattus rattus (n=24), Thrichomys laurentius (n=2), Mus musculus (n=1) and Monodelphis domestica (n=1), were identified. Among domestic dogs (n=96) seroprevalence reached 21.9%. Miniexon multiplex PCR assays characterized TcI in triatomines. Both TcI and TcII were detected in wild mammal hosts. We conclude that Trypanosoma cruzi circulates within a domestic zoonotic cycle, requiring continuous surveillance. Insecticide application to domiciles does not appear to prevent continuous reintroduction of wild triatomine specimens, presenting a challenge to authorities involved in Chagas disease control.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Brazil / epidemiology
  • Chagas Disease / epidemiology*
  • Chagas Disease / genetics
  • Chagas Disease / immunology
  • Chagas Disease / transmission
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Disease Reservoirs*
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Host-Parasite Interactions
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Middle Aged
  • Multiplex Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Opossums / parasitology
  • Rats
  • Rhodnius / parasitology
  • Seroepidemiologic Studies
  • Triatoma / parasitology
  • Trypanosoma cruzi / pathogenicity*
  • Young Adult