Abstract Background: Chagas disease is a major public health problem in Latin America. Its etiologic agent, Trypanosoma cruzi, is mainly transmitted through the contaminated faeces of blood-sucking insects called triatomines. Triatoma infestans is the main vector in various countries in South America and recently, several foci of wild populations of this species have been described in Bolivia and other countries. These wild populations are suspected of affecting the success of insecticide control campaigns being carried out in South America. To assess the risk that these T. infestans populations pose to human health, it is helpful to determine blood meal sources. Methods: In the present work, blood meals were identified in various Bolivian wild T. infestans populations and in three specific areas, in both wild and intra-peridomestic populations to assess the links between wild and domestic cycles of T. cruzi transmission. PCR-HDA and sequencing of Cytb gene were used to identify these blood meal sources. Results and discussion: Fourteen vertebrate species were identified as wild blood meal sources. Of those, the most prevalent species were two Andean endemic rodents, Octodontomys gliroides (36 %) and Galea musteloides (30 %), while humans were the third most prevalent source (18.7 %). Of 163 blood meals from peridomestic areas, more than half were chickens, and the others were generally domestic animals or humans. Interestingly, blood from wild animals was identified in triatomines captured in the peridomestic and domestic environment, and blood from domestic animals was found in triatomines captured in the wild, revealing links between wild and domestic cycles of T. cruzi transmission. Conclusion: The current study suggests that wild T. infestans attack humans in the wild, but is also able to bite humans in domestic settings before going back to its natural environment. These results support the risk to human health posed by wild populations of T. infestans.
Buitrago, R., Bosseno, M. F., Depickère, S., Waleckx, E., Salas, R., Aliaga, C., … Brenière, S. F. (2016). Blood meal sources of wild and domestic Triatoma infestans (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) in Bolivia: Connectivity between cycles of transmission of Trypanosoma cruzi. Parasites and Vectors, 9(1). https://doi.org/10.1186/s13071-016-1499-0