Volume 27, Issue 5
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



An ecological survey of triatomines in the sylvan ecosystem of the Canal Zone and selected sites in Panama disclosed for the first time a close association of and , the two most important vector species of Chagas' disease in Panama, with a single species of a widely distributed palm tree, . This association may explain why Chagas' disease is prevalent in certain rural communities in Central Panama and rare in others. An immense focus of zoonotic infection exists in the forests of the Canal Zone with the presence of large populations of triatomines, associated with and other yet undescribed microhabitats, and high (50–60%) trypanosome infections in all of the major triatomine species. Common opossums, anteaters, and spiny rats seem to be the principal animal reservoirs of in this complex and relatively undisturbed ecosystem.


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