Volume 103, Issue 2
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Chagas disease is a lethal, neglected tropical disease. Unfortunately, aggressive insecticide-spraying campaigns have not been able to eliminate domestic infestation of , the native vector in Guatemala. To target interventions toward houses most at risk of infestation, comprehensive socioeconomic and entomologic surveys were conducted in two towns in Jutiapa, Guatemala. Given the exhaustively large search space associated with combinations of risk factors, traditional statistics are limited in their ability to discover risk factor interactions. Two recently developed statistical evolutionary algorithms, specifically designed to accommodate risk factor interactions and heterogeneity, were applied to this large combinatorial search space and used in tandem to identify sets of risk factor combinations associated with infestation. The optimal model includes 10 risk factors in what is known as a third-order disjunctive normal form (i.e., infested households have chicken coops AND deteriorated bedroom walls OR an accumulation of objects AND dirt floors AND total number of occupants ≥ 5 AND years of electricity ≥ 5 OR poor hygienic condition ratings AND adobe walls AND deteriorated walls AND dogs). Houses with dirt floors and deteriorated walls have been reported previously as risk factors and align well with factors currently targeted by Ecohealth interventions to minimize infestation. However, the tandem evolutionary algorithms also identified two new socioeconomic risk factors (i.e., households having many occupants and years of electricity ≥ 5). Identifying key risk factors may help with the development of new Ecohealth interventions and/or reduce the survey time needed to identify houses most at risk.


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Supplemental material, methods, figure, and tables

  • Received : 06 Sep 2018
  • Accepted : 29 Apr 2020
  • Published online : 08 Jun 2020
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