Vertebrate Hosts and Vectors of Trypanosoma Rangeli in the Amazon Basin of Brazil

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  • * Wellcome Parasitology Unit, Section of Parasitology, Instituto Evandro Chagas da Fundação SESP, Caixa Postal 3, 66.000 Belém, Pará, Brazil
  • | Division of Medical Sciences, Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas de Amazônia, 69.000 Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil
  • | Seção de Parasitologia, Instituto Evandro Chagas da Fundação SESP, 66.000 Belém, Pará, Brazil
  • | § Pan American Health Organization, Washington, D.C. 20037
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A total of 46 Trypanosoma rangeli stocks were isolated from naturally infected mammals and triatomine vectors. Twenty-two stocks were from the common opossum (Didelphis marsupialis), one from the brown “4-eyed” opossum (Metachirus nudicaudatus), one from the anteater (Tamandua tetradactyla), one from the coati (Nasua nasua), seven from Rhodnius pictipes and 14 from Rhodnius robustus. Two stocks were also isolated from recently fed sandflies (Lutzomyia sp., Shannoni group). The stocks were identified as T. rangeli on the basis of natural or experimental salivary gland infections in Rhodnius, inoculative (anterior station) transmission to mice, morphological parameters in parasitemic mice and comparisons of isozyme profiles with a known stock of T. rangeli isolated from man. Three other trypanosome stocks from D. marsupialis, T. tetradactyla and the three-toed sloth (Bradypus tridactylus) were morphologically similar to T. rangeli in culture but had quite different isozyme profiles and were not identified. It is concluded that T. rangeli is widely distributed in Amazonas, Pará and Rondonia States of Brazil, and probably extends into other regions where R. pictipes and R. robustus are known to occur. R. pictipes is light-attracted into houses and occasionally transmits Chagas' disease to man. It is likely that T. rangeli is also occasionally transmitted to man in the Amazon basin.