Volume 71, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645


Mixed infestation of nymphs and adults of Stäl, 1859 and Latreille, 1811 was detected in 3 (15%) of 20 dwellings in El Guamito, an endemic focus of Chagas disease in Lara State, Venezuela. In one of the houses, both species were positive for : 14.3% () and 20% ( ). The overall infection rate in 143 of 352 was 16.1%. Parasites isolated from were identified as I by random amplified polymorphic DNA analysis. Dot–enzyme-linked immunosorbent assays of 36 showed that 58.3% of the had fed on humans. The gut contents of one fifth-instar nymph of that was positive for also reacted with anti-human serum. A questionnaire was used to gather data on the demographic and socioeconomic characteristics of the population. An indirect immunofluorescent test, an indirect hemaglutination test, and an ELISA were used to detect the presence of antibodies against in 84 of 86 inhabitants and in 15.5% of people more than 20 years old. The relative risk (RR) of infection was greater in men than in women (RR = 1.61, 95% confidence interval = 0.54–4.80). Of the people more than 15 years old, 36.6% had no formal education. All respondents recognized triatomine bugs, but they did not relate them to Chagas disease transmission. A total of 85.7% of the houses were “ranchos” suitable for the colonization of triatomine bugs. The possible domiciliation of and the implications of competition with for resources are discussed. Since there is no clear separation of food sources, abiotic factors such as microclimatic variation within houses may be critical to predict the outcome of the process of competition and potential domestication of this generally sylvatic species.


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  • Received : 18 Aug 2003
  • Accepted : 06 Feb 2004

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