Vector Blood Meals Are an Early Indicator of the Effectiveness of the Ecohealth Approach in Halting Chagas Transmission in Guatemala

Mariele J. Pellecer Universidad de San Carlos, Guatemala City, Guatemala; Loyola University New Orleans, New Orleans, Louisiana

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Patricia L. Dorn Universidad de San Carlos, Guatemala City, Guatemala; Loyola University New Orleans, New Orleans, Louisiana

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Dulce M. Bustamante Universidad de San Carlos, Guatemala City, Guatemala; Loyola University New Orleans, New Orleans, Louisiana

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Antonieta Rodas Universidad de San Carlos, Guatemala City, Guatemala; Loyola University New Orleans, New Orleans, Louisiana

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M. Carlota Monroy Universidad de San Carlos, Guatemala City, Guatemala; Loyola University New Orleans, New Orleans, Louisiana

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A novel method using vector blood meal sources to assess the impact of control efforts on the risk of transmission of Chagas disease was tested in the village of El Tule, Jutiapa, Guatemala. Control used Ecohealth interventions, where villagers ameliorated the factors identified as most important for transmission. First, after an initial insecticide application, house walls were plastered. Later, bedroom floors were improved and domestic animals were moved outdoors. Only vector blood meal sources revealed the success of the first interventions: human blood meals declined from 38% to 3% after insecticide application and wall plastering. Following all interventions both vector blood meal sources and entomological indices revealed the reduction in transmission risk. These results indicate that vector blood meals may reveal effects of control efforts early on, effects that may not be apparent using traditional entomological indices, and provide further support for the Ecohealth approach to Chagas control in Guatemala.

Author Notes

* Address correspondence to Patricia L. Dorn, 6363 St. Charles Avenue, New Orleans, LA 70118. E-mail: dorn@loyno.edu

Financial support: This research was funded by the International Development Research Center (Canada) Grants 101812 and 103696-005, by Network for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases in Central America (Sweden) Grant RO7-008, and the National Institutes of Health (USA) Grant 1R15 A1079672-01A.

Authors' addresses: Mariele J. Pellecer, Dulce M. Bustamante, and M. Carlota Monroy, Laboratorio de Entomología Aplicada y Parasitología, Escuela de Biología, Facultad de Ciencias Químicas y Farmacia, Universidad de San Carlos, Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala, E-mails: marielepellecer@gmail.com, dulce_mariab@hotmail.com, and mcarlotamonroy@gmail.com. Patricia L. Dorn, Department of Biological Sciences, Loyola University New Orleans, New Orleans, LA, E-mail: dorn@loyno.edu. Antonieta Rodas, Lcda, Laboratorio de Entomología Aplicada y Parasitología, Escuela de Biología, Facultad de Ciencias Químicas y Farmacia, Universidad de San Carlos, Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala, E-mail: antonieta55@yahoo.com.

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