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First finding of Trypanosoma cruzi II in vampire bats from a district free of domestic vector-borne transmission in Northeastern Argentina



Establishing the putative links between sylvatic and domestic transmission cycles of Trypanosoma cruzi, the etiological agent of Chagas disease, is of public health relevance. We conducted three surveys to assess T. cruzi infection in wild mammals from a rural and a preserved area in Misiones Province, Northeastern Argentina, which had recently been declared free of vector- and blood-borne transmission of human T. cruzi infection. A total of 200 wild mammals were examined by xenodiagnosis (XD) and/or polymerase chain reaction (PCR) amplification of the hyper-variable region of kinetoplast DNA minicircles of T. cruzi (kDNA-PCR). The overall prevalence of T. cruzi infection was 8%. Nine (16%) of 57 Didelphis albiventris opossums and two (7%) of 29 Desmodus rotundus vampire bats were positive by both XD and kDNA-PCR. Additionally, one D. rotundus positive for T. cruzi by kDNA-PCR tested positive by satellite-DNA-PCR (SAT-DNA-PCR). The T. cruzi-infected bats were captured indoors and in the yard of a vacant dwelling. All D. albiventris were infected with TcI and both XD-positive D. rotundus by TcII. Fifty-five opossum cubs within the marsupium were negative by XD. The mean infectiousness to the vector was 62% in D. albiventris and 50% in D. rotundus. Mice experimentally infected with a parasite isolate from a vampire bat displayed lesions typically caused by T. cruzi. Our study documents the presence of the genotype TcII in a sylvatic host for the first time in Argentina, and the occurrence of two transmission cycles of T. cruzi in a district free of domestic vector-borne transmission.


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*Corresponding author: Intendente Güiraldes 2160, Ciudad Universitaria, CP: C1425EGA, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, Argentina. Tel: +54-11-45763318. Fax: +54-11-45763318. E-mail:


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First finding of Trypanosoma cruzi II in vampire bats from a district free of domestic vector-borne transmission in Northeastern Argentina



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