Trypanosoma Cruzi Infection in the Indian Monkey

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  • Departments of Pathology, Neurology and Urology, College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University, and the Neurological Institute, New York City


A flagellate encountered incidentally in Indian monkeys in the course of an investigation of experimental disseminated encephalomyelitis (Kabat et al. 1952) had been identified tentatively as Trypanosoma cruzi (Wolf et at. 1953). This was based upon the appearance of the micro-organism as a trypanosome having the morphological features of T. cruzi in the peripheral blood, its occurrence in the tissue in a leishmaniform stage, and upon the nature and distribution of the lesions produced by the flagellate in the monkey.

The present studies have shown that the trypanosome cultured from the skeletal muscle of a rhesus monkey imported from India is identical with T. cruzi of the Americas. This conclusion is based upon the following data: 1) the cultural characteristics of the Indian trypanosome are identical with those of Trypanosoma cruzi; 2) biologically, it passes through the leishmaniform, leptomonad, crithidia and trypanosome forms in the vertebrate and invertebrate host and in cultures; 3) serologically, it has the same agglutinins as two standard American T. cruzi strains (1114 and Lilly) and there is complete cross-absorption of agglutinins between it and these two strains of T. cruzi; 4) two species of triatomid bugs, Triatoma gerstaekeri and Rhodnius prolixus have been successfully infected with the Indian trypanosome; trypanosomes first appeared in the rectal discharges of the bugs 32 and 17 days respectively after the infective feeding.