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Abundance, Natural Infection with Trypanosomes, and Food Source of an Endemic Species of Triatomine, Panstrongylus howardi (Neiva 1911), on the Ecuadorian Central Coast

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  • Center for Infectious Disease Research, School of Biological Sciences, Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador, Quito, Ecuador; Tropical Disease Institute, Biomedical Sciences Department, Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, Ohio University, Athens, Ohio

The elimination of domestic triatomines is the foundation of Chagas disease control. Regional initiatives are eliminating introduced triatomine species. In this scenario, endemic triatomines can occupy the ecological niches left open and become a threat to long-term Chagas disease control efforts. This study determined the abundance, colonization, and Trypanosoma cruzi infection rate of the endemic Panstrongylus howardi in 10 rural communities located in Ecuador's Manabí Province. In total, 518 individuals of P. howardi were collected. Infestation indices of 1.4% and 6.6% were found in the domestic and peridomestic environments, respectively. We determined a T. cruzi infection rate of 53.2% (N = 47) in this species. P. howardi has a high capacity to adapt to different habitats, especially in the peridomicile. This implies a considerable risk of transmission because of the frequency of intradomicile invasion. Therefore, this species needs to be taken into account in Chagas control and surveillance efforts in the region.

Author Notes

* Address correspondence to Mario J. Grijalva, 333 Irvine Hall, Ohio University, Athens, OH 45701. E-mail: grijalva@ohio.edu

Financial support: Financial support was received from The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) - United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)/World Bank/World Health Organization Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases Research Capability Strengthening Group, Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, Pontifical Catholic University of Ecuador, Children's Heartlink, and Plan International Ecuador.

Authors' addresses: Anita G. Villacís, Sofia Ocaña-Mayorga, César A. Yumiseva, and Esteban G. Baus, Center for Infectious Disease Research, School of Biological Sciences, Catholic University, Quito, Ecuador, E-mails: agvillacis@puce.edu.ec, sbocana@puce.edu.ec, cayumiseva@puce.edu.ec, and egbaus@puce.edu.ec. Mauricio S. Lascano, Center for Global Health, Division of Parasitic Diseases and Malaria, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, E-mail: SLascano@cdc.gov. Mario J. Grijalva, Tropical Disease Institute, Biomedical Sciences Department, Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, Ohio University, Athens, OH, E-mail: grijalva@ohio.edu.

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