Risk Factors for Trypanosoma cruzi Infection among Children in Central Brazil: A Case-Control Study in Vector Control Settings

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  • Instituto de Patologia Tropical e Saude Publica, Universidade Federal de Goias, Communicable Diseases Programme, Pan American Health Organization/World Health Organization, Faculdade de Saude Publica, Universidade de Sao Paulo, Goiania, Brazil
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This population-based case-control study was conducted in northern Goias State, Central Brazil, in rural settings under vector control surveillance. One hundred forty-nine children seropositive for Trypanosoma cruzi antibodies, selected in a cross-sectional survey carried out in village schools, were compared with 298 seronegative classmate controls matched for age, sex, and place of residence. Information on potential environmental, familiar, and social economic risk factors for T. cruzi infection was collected during household visits, and interviews with parents and entomologic inspections of domestic and peridomestic environments were conducted. The presence of triatomines in dwellings or evidence of triatomine colonization was found to be statistically associated with seropositivity in children. The presence of exuviae and a report of triatomines indoors or outdoors by householders in the past were strong predictors of an infected child. Children from seropositive mothers had a 3.9-fold increase in the risk of having anti-T. cruzi antibodies after adjusting for the confounding variables, including triatomine capture, mother's age, and family size in multivariate analysis. Parent's report of vector presence showed a 97.7% sensitivity in identifying a dwelling with at least one seropositive child. The possibility of transplacental T. cruzi transmission and its implication for Chagas' disease control were considered.