Heterogeneities in the Ecoepidemiology of Trypanosoma cruzi Infection in Rural Communities of the Argentinean Chaco

M. Victoria Cardinal Laboratory of Eco-Epidemiology, Department of Ecology, Genetics and Evolution, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Department of Environmental Studies, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia

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M. Marcela Orozco Laboratory of Eco-Epidemiology, Department of Ecology, Genetics and Evolution, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Department of Environmental Studies, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia

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Gustavo F. Enriquez Laboratory of Eco-Epidemiology, Department of Ecology, Genetics and Evolution, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Department of Environmental Studies, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia

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Leonardo A. Ceballos Laboratory of Eco-Epidemiology, Department of Ecology, Genetics and Evolution, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Department of Environmental Studies, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia

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María Sol Gaspe Laboratory of Eco-Epidemiology, Department of Ecology, Genetics and Evolution, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Department of Environmental Studies, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia

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Julián A. Alvarado-Otegui Laboratory of Eco-Epidemiology, Department of Ecology, Genetics and Evolution, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Department of Environmental Studies, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia

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Juan M. Gurevitz Laboratory of Eco-Epidemiology, Department of Ecology, Genetics and Evolution, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Department of Environmental Studies, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia

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Uriel Kitron Laboratory of Eco-Epidemiology, Department of Ecology, Genetics and Evolution, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Department of Environmental Studies, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia

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Ricardo E. Gürtler Laboratory of Eco-Epidemiology, Department of Ecology, Genetics and Evolution, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina; Department of Environmental Studies, Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia

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We conducted a cross-sectional survey of Trypanosoma cruzi infection of Triatoma infestans as well as dogs and cats in 327 households from a well-defined rural area in northeastern Argentina to test whether the household distribution of infection differed between local ethnic groups (Tobas and Creoles) and identify risk factors for host infection. Overall prevalence of infection of bugs (27.2%; 95% confidence interval = 25.3–29.3%), dogs (26.0%; 95% confidence interval = 23.3–30.1%), and cats examined (28.7%; 95% confidence interval = 20.2–39.0%) was similar. A multimodel inference approach showed that infection in dogs was associated strongly with the intensity and duration of local exposure to infected bugs and moderately with household ethnic background. Overall, Toba households were at a substantially greater risk of infection than Creole households. The strong heterogeneities in the distribution of bug, dog, and cat infections at household, village, and ethnic group levels may be used for targeted vector and disease control.

Author Notes

* Address correspondence to Ricardo E. Gürtler, Laboratorio de Eco-Epidemiología, Departamento de Ecología, Genética y Evolución, Universidad of Buenos Aires, Ciudad Universitaria, 1428 Buenos Aires, Argentina. E-mail: gurtler@ege.fcen.uba.ar

Financial support: This study was supported by awards from the International Development Research Center (EcoHealth Program), United Nations Children's Fund, the United Nations Development Programme, the World Bank and the World Health Organization Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases, University of Buenos Aires (to R.E.G.), and the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (to U.K., R.E.G., and Joel Cohen) as well as National Institutes of Health/National Science Foundation Ecology of Infectious Disease Program Award R01 TW05836 funded by the Fogarty International Center. M.V.C., M.M.O., and R.E.G. are members of Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas Researcher's Career.

Authors' addresses: M. Victoria Cardinal, M. Marcela Orozco, Gustavo F. Enriquez, Leonardo A. Ceballos, María Sol Gaspe, Julián A. Alvarado-Otegui, Juan M. Gurevitz, and Ricardo E. Gürtler, Laboratory of Eco-Epidemiology, Department of Ecology, Genetics and Evolution, University of Buenos Aires, Buenos Aires, Argentina, E-mails: mvcardinal@ege.fcen.uba.ar, marcelaorozco.vet@gmail.com, gustavoenriquez@ege.fcen.uba.ar, leonefasto@ege.fcen.uba.ar, solgaspe@ege.fcen.uba.ar, lavizcachasp@hotmail.com, jmgurevitz@yahoo.com.ar, and gurtler@ege.fcen.uba.ar. Uriel Kitron. Department of Environmental Studies, Emory University, Atlanta, GA, E-mail: ukitron@emory.edu.

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