Volume 85, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0002-9637
  • E-ISSN: 1476-1645



Chagas disease is caused by the parasite , which is transmitted to humans by blood-sucking triatomine insects. This disease is endemic throughout Mexico and Central and South America, but only a few autochthonous cases have been reported in the United States, despite the fact that infected insects readily invade houses and feed on humans. Competent vectors defecate during or shortly after feeding so that infective feces contact the host. We thus studied the feeding and defecation behaviors of the prevalent species in southern Arizona, . We found that whereas defecation during feeding was frequent in females (93%), it was very rare in immature stages (3%), and absent in males. Furthermore, more than half of the immature insects that exhibited multiple feeding bouts (62%) defecated during interruptions of feeding, i.e., while likely on or near the host. These results indicate that potentially could transmit to humans.


Article metrics loading...

The graphs shown below represent data from March 2017
Loading full text...

Full text loading...



  1. Pan American Health Organization, 2006. Estimación cuantitativa de la enfermedad de Chagas en las Américas. Available at: http://www.bvsops.org.uy/pdf/chagas19.pdf. Accessed March 7, 2011. [Google Scholar]
  2. World Health Organization, 2011. Chagas Disease (American trypanosomiasis). Fact sheet no. 340. Available at: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs340/en/index.html. Accessed March 4, 2011. [Google Scholar]
  3. Wood S, Wood F, , 1961. Observations on vectors of Chagas' disease in the United States. III. New Mexico. Am J Trop Med Hyg 10: 155165. [Google Scholar]
  4. Wood S, , 1940. Additional observations on Trypanosoma cruzi Chagas, from Arizona in insects, rodents and experimentally infected animals. Am J Trop Med Hyg 29: 4355. [Google Scholar]
  5. Wood S, , 1942. Observations on vectors of Chagas' disease in the United States. I. California. Bull South Calif Acad Sci 41: 6169. [Google Scholar]
  6. Ryckman R, , 1986. The vertebrate hosts of the Triatominae of North and Central America and the West Indies (Hemiptera: Reduviidae: Triatominae). Bull Soc Vector Ecol 11: 221241. [Google Scholar]
  7. Packchanian A, , 1942. Reservoirs hosts of Chagas' disease in the state of Texas. Am J Trop Med 22: 623631. [Google Scholar]
  8. Kjos SA, Snowden KF, Olson JK, , 2009. Biogeography and Trypanosoma cruzi infection prevalence of Chagas disease vectors in Texas. USA Vector-Borne Zoonotic Dis 9: 4150.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  9. Reisenman CE, Lawrence G, Guerenstein PG, Gregory T, Dotson E, Hildebrand JG, , 2010. Infection of kissing bugs with Trypanosoma cruzi, Tucson, Arizona, USA. Emerg Infect Dis 16: 400405.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  10. Brown EL, Roellig DM, Gompper ME, Monello RJ, Wenning KM, Gabriel MW, Yabsley MJ, , 2010. Seroprevalence of Trypanosoma cruzi among eleven potential reservoir species from six states across the southern United States. Vector Borne Zoonotic Dis 10: 757763.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  11. Woody NC, Woody HB, , 1955. American trypanosomiasis (Chagas' disease): first indigenous case in the United States. J Am Med Assoc 159: 676677.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  12. Ochs DE, Hnilica VS, Moser DR, Smith JH, Kirchoff LV, , 1996. Postmortem diagnosis of autochthonous acute chagasic myocarditis by polymerase chain reaction amplification of a species-specific DNA sequence of Trypanosoma cruzi . Am J Trop Med Hyg 54: 526529. [Google Scholar]
  13. Herwaldt B, Grijalva M, Newsome A, McGhee C, Powell M, Nemec D, Steurer F, Eberhard ML, , 2000. Use of polymerase chain reaction to diagnose the fifth reported US case of autochtonous transmission of Trypanosoma cruzi, in Tennessee, 1998. J Infect Dis 181: 395399.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  14. Schiffler RJ, Mansur GP, Navin TR, , 1984. Indigenous Chagas' disease (American trypanosomiasis) in California. JAMA 251: 29832984.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  15. Dorn P, Perniciario L, Yabsley M, Roellig D, Balsamo G, Diaz J, Wesson D, , 2007. Autochthonous transmission of Trypanosoma cruzi, Louisiana. Emerg Infect Dis 13: 605607.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  16. Zeledón R, Rabinovich JE, , 1981. Chagas' disease: an ecological appraisal with special emphasis on its insect vectors. Annu Rev Entomol 26: 101133.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  17. Dias E, , 1956. Observations on defecation and contact feeding time of several South American Triatoma. Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 54: 115124.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  18. Zeledón R, Alvarado R, Jirón LF, , 1977. Observations on the feeding and defecation patterns of three triatomine species (Hemiptera: Reduviidae). Acta Trop 34: 6577. [Google Scholar]
  19. Wood SF, , 1951. Importance of feeding and defecation times of insect vectors in transmission of Chagas' disease. J Med Entomol 44: 5254. [Google Scholar]
  20. Vianna Braga M, Marli ML, , 1998. Feeding and defecation patterns of nymphs of Triatoma rubrofasciata (De Geer, 1773) (Hemiptera: Reduviidae), and its potential role as vector for Trypanosoma cruzi . Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 94: 127129. [Google Scholar]
  21. Lent D, Wygodzinsky PW, , 1979. Revision of the Triatominae (Hemiptera, Reduviidae), and their significance as vectors of Chagas' disease. Bull Am Mus Nat Hist 163: 123520. [Google Scholar]
  22. Rodriguez Coura J, Borges-Pereira J, , 2010. Chagas disease: 100 years after its discovery. A systemic review. Acta Trop 115: 513.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  23. Loza-Murguía M, Noireau F, , 2010. Vectorial capacity of Triatoma guasayana (Wygodzinsky & Abalos) (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) compared with two other species of epidemic importance. Neotrop Entomol 39: 799809.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  24. Wood S, , 1943. Observations on vectors of Chagas' disease in the United States. II. Arizona. Am J Trop Med Hyg 23: 315320. [Google Scholar]
  25. Klotz SA, Dorn PL, Klotz JH, Pinnas JL, Weirauch C, Kurtz JR, Schmidt J, , 2009. Feeding behavior of triatomines from the southwestern United States: an update on potential risk for transmission of Chagas disease. Acta Trop 111: 114118.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  26. Martínez-Ibarra JA, Nogueda-Torres B, Paredes-González E, Alejandre-Aguilar R, Solorio-Cibrián M, Barreto SP, Gómez-Estrada HI, Trujillo-García JC, , 2005. Development of Triatoma rubida sonoriana, Triatoma barberi, and Meccus mazzottii (Heteroptera, Reduviidae) under laboratory conditions. J Am Mosq Control Assoc 21: 310315.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  27. Núñez J, Lazzari CR, , 1990. Rearing of Triatoma infestans Klug (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) in the absence of a live host. I. Some factors affecting the artificial feeding. J Appl Entomol 109: 8792.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  28. Guerenstein PG, Núñez J, , 1994. Feeding response of the hematophagous bugs Rhodnius prolixus and Triatoma infestans to saline solutions: a comparative study. J Insect Physiol 40: 747752.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  29. Lorenzo MG, Lazzari CR, , 1996. The spatial pattern of defecation in Triatoma infestans and the role of feces as a chemical mark of the refuge. J Insect Physiol 42: 903907.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  30. Virreira M, Torrico F, Truyens C, Alonso-Vega C, Solano M, Carlier Y, Svoboda M, , 2003. Comparison of polymerase chain reaction methods for reliable and easy detection of congenital Trypanosoma cruzi infection. Am J Trop Med Hyg 68: 574582. [Google Scholar]
  31. Zar JH, , 1999. Biostatistical Analysis. Fourth edition. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc. [Google Scholar]
  32. Zárate LG, Morales López G, Cabrera Ozuna M, García Santiago G, Zárate RJ, , 1984. The biology and behavior of Triatoma barberi (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) in México. J Med Entomol 21: 548560.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  33. Crocco LB, Catalá SS, , 1996. Feeding and defecation patterns in Triatoma sordida . Mem Inst Oswaldo Cruz 91: 409413.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  34. Vázquez-Prokopec GM, Ceballos LA, Marcet PL, Cécere MC, Cardinal MV, Kitron U, Gürtler RE, , 2006. Seasonal variations in active dispersal of natural populations of Triatoma infestans in rural north-western Argentina. Med Vet Entomol 20: 273279.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  35. Takano-Lee M, Edman JD, , 2002. Lack of manipulation of Rhodnius prolixus (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) vector competence by Trypanosoma cruzi . J Med Entomol 39: 4451.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  36. Piesman J, Sherlock LA, , 1983. Factors controlling the volume of feces produced by triatomine vectors of Chagas' disease. Acta Trop 40: 351358. [Google Scholar]
  37. Trumper EV, Gorla DE, , 1991. Density-dependent timing of defecation by Triatoma infestans . Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg 85: 800802.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  38. Kirk ML, Schofield CJ, , 1987. Density-dependent timing of defecation by Rhodnius prolixus, and its implications for the transmission of Trypanosoma cruzi . Trans R Soc Trop Med Hyg 81: 348349.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  39. Guarnieri A, Diotaiuti L, Gontijo N, Gontijo A, Pereira M, , 2000. Comparison of feeding behaviour of Triatoma infestans, Triatoma brasiliensis and Triatoma pseudomaculata in different hosts by electronic monitoring of the cibarial pump. J Insect Physiol 46: 11211127.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]
  40. Ekkens D, , 1981. Nocturnal flights of Triatoma (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) in Sabino Canyon, Arizona. I. Light collections. J Med Entomol 18: 211227.[Crossref] [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

  • Received : 08 Mar 2011
  • Accepted : 26 Jun 2011
  • Published online : 01 Oct 2011

Most Cited This Month

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was a Success
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error