The Earth Institute at Columbia University
Chagas disease (American Trypanosomiasis), caused by Trypanosoma cruzi and transmitted by triatomine bugs, is the most important vector-borne disease in Latin America. Despite an ongoing eradication campaign, transmission persists in much of the continent, particularly in the Gran Chaco of northern Argentina, Paraguay and Bolivia, where Triatoma infestans is the main vector. Abundant peridomestic structures (particularly animal corrals) provide a refuge and source for repeated domestic reinfestation, dogs are a continuous source of infection for colonizing triatomine bugs, and sylvatic vectors invading human habitations may also play a role in reintroducing T. cruzi. The long-term goal of this project is to interrupt the reinfestation process and introduction of infection into homes. High degree of spatial, temporal and host heterogeneity with regard to vector and parasite survival, reproduction and spread, and ongoing anthropogenic changes have to be considered to understand infestation and infection patterns. Data derived from molecular tools, satellite imagery and field observations and experiments will be integrated into a GIS and mathematical models to elucidate the underlying biological mechanisms and epidemiological processes.
Project Leader/Principal Investigator
Laboratory of Populations
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Ricardo Gurtler, University of Buenos Aires
Uriel Kitron, University of Illinois
University of Illinois College of Veterinary Medicine