Volume 59, Issue 5
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


The northeastern highlands of Brazil are endemic for several tropical diseases, especially American trypanosomiasis (Chagas' disease) and schistosomiasis. Twenty years ago, we measured the seroprevalence of protozoan diseases in Santo Inácio, a village of approximately 1,000 inhabitants located 1,000 m above sea level. We detected small numbers of sera with antibodies against Trypanosoma cruzi and Toxoplasma gondii, and the area had a low prevalence both of American trypanosomiasis (3.54%) and toxoplasmosis (27.43%) compared with nearby Brazilian areas. This was attributed to a specific triatomine vector and local housing conditions. Twenty years later, we again determined the prevalences of both diseases and compared these results with those from Iraquara, a larger town with the same ethnic and social background but with a higher prevalence of rural activities. The incidence of Chagas' disease in San Inácio showed the same low level, i.e., 3.78% (5 of 132) with only adult males affected in contrast with Iraquara, which had an incidence of 34.5%, but a low prevalence of only one of 22 among children up to 14 years of age. Santo Inácio maintained a low (25.8%) seroprevalence for toxoplasmosis. Housewives presented a higher incidence of toxoplasmosis during both periods, probably due to related risk factors. Cats were found less frequently in Santo Inácio than in Iraquara, which showed an incidence of 65.5% seropositivity for Toxoplasma gondii. These results suggest that the environmental conditions of Santo Inácio were preserved after 20 years, with a low incidence of these selected protozoan diseases.


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