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Information to Act: Household Characteristics are Predictors of Domestic Infestation with the Chagas Vector Triatoma dimidiata in Central America

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  • Laboratorio de Entomología Aplicada y Parasitología, Escuela de Biología, Universidad de San Carlos, Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala; Administración Académica, Universidad de San Salvador, San Salvador, El Salvador; Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo en Salud, Universidad de San Salvador, San Salvador, El Salvador; Escuela de Microbiología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras, Tegucigalpa, Honduras; Programa Nacional de Prevención y Control de la Enfermedad de Chagas, Secretaría de Salud, Tegucigalpa, Honduras
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The interruption of vectorial transmission of Chagas disease by Triatoma dimidiata in central America is a public health challenge that cannot be resolved by insecticide application alone. In this study, we collected information on previously known household risk factors for infestation in 11 villages and more than 2,000 houses in Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, and we constructed multivariate models and used multimodel inference to evaluate their importance as predictors of infestation in the region. The models had moderate ability to predict infested houses (sensitivity, 0.32–0.54) and excellent ability to predict noninfested houses (specificity higher than 0.90). Predictive ability was improved by including random village effects and presence of signs of infestation (insect feces, eggs, and exuviae) as fixed effects. Multimodel inference results varied depending on factors included, but house wall materials (adobe, bajareque, and palopique) and signs of infestation were among the most important predictive factors. Reduced models were not supported suggesting that all factors contributed to predictions. Previous knowledge and information from this study show that we have evidence to prioritize rural households for improvement to prevent house infestation with Triatoma dimidiata in Central America. House improvement will most likely have other health co-benefits.

Author Notes

* Address correspondence to Dulce María Bustamante Zamora, California Department of Public Health, 850 Marina Bay Parkway, Mail Stop P3-125, Richmond, CA 94804. E-mail: dulce_mariab@hotmail.com

Financial support: This research was supported by IDRC Canada project number 106531–001 and National Science Foundation grant BCS-1216193.

Authors' addresses: Dulce María Bustamante Zamora, California Department of Public Health, Richmond, CA, E-mail: dulce_mariab@hotmail.com. Marianela Menes Hernandez and Maria Carlota Monroy Escobar, Escuela de Biología, Universidad de San Carlos, Ciudad de Guatemala, Guatemala, E-mails: nelamenes@gmail.com and mcarlotamonroy@gmail.com. Nuria Torres, Administracion Academica, Universidad de El Salvador, San Salvador, El Salvador, E-mail: nuria.torres@ues.edu.sv. Concepción Zúniga, Programa Nacional para la Prevencion y Control de la Enfermedad de Chagas, Secretaría de Salud, Honduras, E-mail: concepcionzuniga@gmail.com. Wilfredo Sosa, Departamento de Microbiología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Honduras, Tegucigalpa, Honduras, E-mail: will_sosa_2000@yahoo.com. Vianney de Abrego, Centro de Investigación y Desarrollo en Salud, Universidad de El Salvador, San Salvador, El Salvador, E-mail: viacda@yahoo.es.

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