What is it about?

Chagas disease is caused by the Trypanosoma cruzi parasite and is considered one of the most important vector-borne diseases in public health in Latin America. According to estimates by the World Health Organization, approximately 6 million people are infected in 21 Latin American countries. In recent years, the disease has gained epidemiological importance, not only the detection of cases has increased, but also due to the presence, in chronic infection, of heart disease, a pathology of considerable clinical severity and whose appearance increases the risk of disability and reduction of the life expectancy. Infection of humans and other vertebrates, such as rodents, carnivores, and primates, is mainly caused by contact of the skin and mucosa of the vertebrate host with hemiptera of the Reduviidae family, subfamily Triatominae, contaminated by T. cruzi. As for other vector-borne diseases, the identification of high-risk areas for parasite transmission is of great importance for the planning and implementation of efficient control programs. However, the occurrence of disease transmission events and vector distribution depends to a large extent on environmental conditions at different spatial and temporal scales. Therefore, identifying the spatial patterns of the abundance of vectors and their relationship with the presence of the disease would allow the formulation of prevention, control and decision-making plans in public health through the construction and testing of predictive models based on the statistical inference. Taking into account the above, this project sought to resolve the following research question: What are the geographic patterns of abundance of the main vectors of Chagas disease in Latin America? Answering this question serves to increase knowledge about environmental factors related to the Abundance of the main vectors that influence the transmission of Chagas disease in Latin America. All this information is useful for establishing or reinforcing control measures, as well as alerting health systems about areas with the highest risk of vector transmission.

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Why is it important?

These findings might be used by public health agencies in Latin America to implement actions and support programs for disease prevention and vector control, identifying areas in which to expand entomological surveillance and maintain chemical control, in order to decrease human–vector contact.


To assess how the population dynamic of R. pallescens and T. maculata respond to climate change using this methodological approach is an unexplored but important avenue for future research.

Mariano Altamiranda
Tecnologico de Antioquia Institucion Universitaria

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This page is a summary of: Geographic abundance patterns explained by niche centrality hypothesis in two Chagas disease vectors in Latin America, PLoS ONE, November 2020, PLOS,
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0241710.
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