Geographic distribution of Triatoma dimidiata and transmission dynamics of Trypanosoma cruzi in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico.

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  • 1 Laboratorio de Parasitología, Centro de Investigaciones Regionales Dr. Hideyo Noguchi, Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, Mérida, Mexico.

Chagas disease represents a major public health concern in most of Latin America, and its control is currently based on vector control and blood bank screening. We investigated the geographic distribution and seasonal variations in triatomine populations in the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico to obtain entomologic data for the optimization of potential control programs. We collected domiciliated and peri-domiciliated Triatoma dimidiata from 115 houses in 23 villages distributed throughout most of the peninsula. A high abundance of bugs was observed in the northern part of the peninsula, indicating a prioritary area for vector control. Part of this distribution could be attributed to the type of vegetation. We also documented strong seasonal variations in T. dimidiata populations, with a higher abundance during the hot and dry season in April-June. These variations, associated with reduced year-round colonization of houses and the analysis of developmental stage structure, suggest that flying adults seasonally invading houses may play a larger role than domiciliated bugs in transmission of Trypanosoma cruzi to humans. The importance of this transmission dynamics may not be limited to the Yucatan peninsula, but may be a general mechanism contributing to natural transmission that should be taken into account in other regions for the design and optimization of control strategies.