Background: A large variety of mammals act as natural reservoirs of Trypanosoma cruzi (the causal agent of Chagas disease) across the American continent. Related issues are infection and parasite burden in these reservoirs, and whether they are able to control T. cruzi infections. These parameters can indicate the real role of mammals as T. cruzi reservoirs and transmitters. Here, two species of mammals, white-nosed coati (Nasua narica) and raccoon (Procyon lotor), were examined for to determine: a) T. cruzi presence, and; b) their ability to control T. cruzi infection. Methods: Multiple capture-recaptures of both species were carried out in semi-wild conditions in Villahermosa, Tabasco, Mexico, for 5 years. Two samplings per year (summer and winter) took place. Prevalence and pattern of T. cruzi infection were determined by PCR from both mammals' blood samples. Results: Raccoon samples had a higher relative infection values (26.6%) compared to those of white-nosed coati (9.05%), being this difference significant in summer 2012 (P < 0.00001), summer (P = 0.03) and winter 2013 (P = 0.02). Capture and recapture data indicated three infection dynamics: 1) negative-positive-negative infection; 2) positive-negative-positive infection; and 3) positive at all sampling times. Conclusions: These results indicate that both coati and raccoons may be able to control T. cruzi infection. Thus, the role as efficient reservoirs could be questioned (at least for those times when mammals are able to tolerate the infection). However, while infected, they may also be able to approach human dwellings and play a role important in linking sylvatic and domestic cycles.
Martínez-Hernández, F., Rendon-Franco, E., Gama-Campillo, L. M., Villanueva-García, C., Romero-Valdovinos, M., Maravilla, P., … Villalobos, G. (2014). Follow up of natural infection with Trypanosoma cruzi in two mammals species, Nasua narica and Procyon lotor (Carnivora: Procyonidae): Evidence of infection control? Parasites and Vectors, 7(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/1756-3305-7-405