Eco-epidemiological study of an endemic Chagas disease region in northern Colombia reveals the importance of Triatoma maculata (Hemiptera: Reduviidae), dogs and Didelphis marsupialis in Trypanosoma cruzi maintenance
Following the report of two cases of acute Chagas' disease and the appearance of several triatomine species in human dwellings in an area considered non-endemic for domestic transmission of Trypanosoma cruzi; a epidemiological, entomological and T. cruzi molecular epidemiology analysis was performed in order to establish the transmission dynamic of the parasite in the studied area. 2 T. cruzi isolates from human patients, 5 from Eratyrus cuspidatus, 4 from Rhodnius pallescens, 4 from Panstrongylus geniculatus and 7 reference stocks were analyzed by mini-exon gene, random amplified polymorphic DNA (RAPD) and multilocus enzyme electrophoresis (MLEE). All isolates from vectors and human resulted T. cruzi group I by mini-exon, RAPD and MLEE. While mini-exon and MLEE did not showed any differences between the studied isolates, RAPD analysis identified a common T. cruzi genotype for the E. cuspidatus isolates and human isolates and distinguished different strains from R. pallescens and P. geniculatus isolates. The presence of the same T. cruzi genotype in isolates from patients and E. cuspidatus suggests that this species can be responsible for the transmission of Chagas' disease in the study area. RAPD analysis showed better resolution and discrimination of T. cruzi strains than mini-exon and MLEE and can be considered a useful tool for molecular epidemiology studies. Incrimination of sylvatic triatomine species in the transmission of Chagas' disease indicates that more knowledge about the ecology of these vectors is necessary to improve control strategies.