Scielo RSS <![CDATA[Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz]]> vol. 110 num. 3 lang. en <![CDATA[SciELO Logo]]> <![CDATA[Special issue on Chagas disease]]> <![CDATA[The main sceneries of Chagas disease transmission. The vectors, blood and oral transmissions - A comprehensive review]]> This review deals with transmission of Trypanosoma cruzi by the most important domestic vectors, blood transfusion and oral intake. Among the vectors, Triatoma infestans, Panstrongylus megistus, Rhodnius prolixus, Triatoma dimidiata, Triatoma brasiliensis, Triatoma pseudomaculata, Triatoma sordida, Triatoma maculata, Panstrongylus geniculatus, Rhodnius ecuadoriensis and Rhodnius pallescens can be highlighted. Transmission of Chagas infection, which has been brought under control in some countries in South and Central America, remains a great challenge, particularly considering that many endemic countries do not have control over blood donors. Even more concerning is the case of non-endemic countries that receive thousands of migrants from endemic areas that carry Chagas disease, such as the United States of America, in North America, Spain, in Europe, Japan, in Asia, and Australia, in Oceania. In the Brazilian Amazon Region, since Shaw et al. (1969) described the first acute cases of the disease caused by oral transmission, hundreds of acute cases of the disease due to oral transmission have been described in that region, which is today considered to be endemic for oral transmission. Several other outbreaks of acute Chagas disease by oral transmission have been described in different states of Brazil and in other South American countries. <![CDATA[New scenarios of <em>Trypanosoma cruzi</em> transmission in the Orinoco region of Colombia]]> Rhodnius prolixus, a blood-sucking triatomine with domiciliary anthropophilic habits, is the main vector of Chagas disease. The current paradigm of Trypanosoma cruzi transmission in Columbia includes a sylvatic and domiciliary cycle co-existing with domestic and sylvatic populations of reservoirs. The aim of this study is to evaluate the population densities and relative abundance of triatomines and mammals that may be involved in the sylvatic cycle of Chagas disease to clarify the epidemiological scenario in an endemic area in the province of Casanare. Insect vectors on Attalea butyracea palms were captured using both manual searches and bait traps. The capture of mammals was performed using Sherman and Tomahawk traps. We report an infestation index of 88.5% in 148 palms and an index of T. cruzi natural infection of 60.2% in 269 dissected insects and 11.9% in 160 captured mammals. High population densities of triatomines were observed in the sylvatic environment and there was a high relative abundance of reservoirs in the area, suggesting a stable enzootic cycle. We found no evidence of insect domiciliation. Taken together, these observations suggest that eco-epidemiological factors shape the transmission dynamics of T. cruzi, creating diverse scenarios of disease transmission. <![CDATA[Integrated control of Chagas disease for its elimination as public health problem - A Review]]> Chagas disease or American trypanosomiasis is, together with geohelminths, the neglected disease that causes more loss of years of healthy life due to disability in Latin America. Chagas disease, as determined by the factors and determinants, shows that different contexts require different actions, preventing new cases or reducing the burden of disease. Control strategies must combine two general courses of action including prevention of transmission to prevent the occurrence of new cases (these measures are cost effective), as well as opportune diagnosis and treatment of infected individuals in order to prevent the clinical evolution of the disease and to allow them to recuperate their health. All actions should be implemented as fully as possible and with an integrated way, to maximise the impact. Chagas disease cannot be eradicated due because of the demonstrated existence of infected wild triatomines in permanent contact with domestic cycles and it contributes to the occurrence of at least few new cases. However, it is possible to interrupt the transmission of Trypanosoma cruzi in a large territory and to eliminate Chagas disease as a public health problem with a dramatic reduction of burden of the disease. <![CDATA[Positive deviance study to inform a Chagas disease control program in southern Ecuador]]> Chagas disease is caused by Trypanosoma cruzi, which is mainly transmitted by the faeces of triatomine insects that find favourable environments in poorly constructed houses. Previous studies have documented persistent triatomine infestation in houses in the province of Loja in southern Ecuador despite repeated insecticide and educational interventions. We aim to develop a sustainable strategy for the interruption of Chagas disease transmission by promoting living environments that are designed to prevent colonisation of rural houses by triatomines. This study used positive deviance to inform the design of an anti-triatomine prototype house by identifying knowledge, attitudes and practices used by families that have remained triatomine-free (2010-2012). Positive deviants reported practices that included maintenance of structural elements of the house, fumigation of dwellings and animal shelters, sweeping with "insect repellent" plants and relocation of domestic animals away from the house, among others. Participants favoured construction materials that do not drastically differ from those currently used (adobe walls and tile roofs). They also expressed their belief in a clear connection between a clean house and health. The family's economic dynamics affect space use and must be considered in the prototype's design. Overall, the results indicate a positive climate for the introduction of housing improvements as a protective measure against Chagas disease in this region. <![CDATA[Where do these bugs come from? Phenotypic structure of<em> Triatoma infestans</em> populations after control interventions in the Argentine Chaco]]> House re-invasion by native triatomines after insecticide-based control campaigns represents a major threat for Chagas disease vector control. We conducted a longitudinal intervention study in a rural section (Area III, 407 houses) of Pampa del Indio, northeastern Argentina, and used wing geometric morphometry to compare pre-spray and post-spray (re-infestant bugs) Triatoma infestans populations. The community-wide spraying with pyrethroids reduced the prevalence of house infestation by T. infestans from 31.9% to &lt; 1% during a four-year follow-up, unlike our previous studies in the neighbouring Area I. Two groups of bug collection sites differing in wing shape variables before interventions (including 221 adults from 11 domiciles) were used as a reference for assigning 44 post-spray adults. Wing shape variables from post-spray, high-density bug colonies and pre-spray groups were significantly different, suggesting that re-infestant insects had an external origin. Insects from one house differed strongly in wing shape variables from all other specimens. A further comparison between insects from both areas supported the existence of independent re-infestation processes within the same district. These results point to local heterogeneities in house re-infestation dynamics and emphasise the need to expand the geographic coverage of vector surveillance and control operations to the affected region. <![CDATA[The rising importance of <em>Triatoma rubrofasciata</em>]]> The migration of invasive vector species has contributed to the worldwide extension of infectious diseases such as dengue (Aedes aegypti) and chikungunya (Aedes albopictus). It is probably a similar behaviour for certain vectors of Chagas disease which allowed it to become a continental burden in Latin America. One of them, Triatoma rubrofasciata has also been spreading throughout the tropical and subtropical world. Here, the recent and massive peridomestic presence of T. rubrofasciata in Vietnam cities is reported, and tentatively explained, highlighting the need for improved entomological surveillance. <![CDATA[Intrusive <em>versus</em> domiciliated triatomines and the challenge of adapting vector control practices against Chagas disease]]> Chagas disease prevention remains mostly based on triatomine vector control to reduce or eliminate house infestation with these bugs. The level of adaptation of triatomines to human housing is a key part of vector competence and needs to be precisely evaluated to allow for the design of effective vector control strategies. In this review, we examine how the domiciliation/intrusion level of different triatomine species/populations has been defined and measured and discuss how these concepts may be improved for a better understanding of their ecology and evolution, as well as for the design of more effective control strategies against a large variety of triatomine species. We suggest that a major limitation of current criteria for classifying triatomines into sylvatic, intrusive, domiciliary and domestic species is that these are essentially qualitative and do not rely on quantitative variables measuring population sustainability and fitness in their different habitats. However, such assessments may be derived from further analysis and modelling of field data. Such approaches can shed new light on the domiciliation process of triatomines and may represent a key tool for decision-making and the design of vector control interventions. <![CDATA[Atlas of Mexican Triatominae (Reduviidae: Hemiptera) and vector transmission of Chagas disease]]> Chagas disease is one of the most important yet neglected parasitic diseases in Mexico and is transmitted by Triatominae. Nineteen of the 31 Mexican triatomine species have been consistently found to invade human houses and all have been found to be naturally infected with Trypanosoma cruzi. The present paper aims to produce a state-of-knowledge atlas of Mexican triatomines and analyse their geographic associations with T. cruzi, human demographics and landscape modification. Ecological niche models (ENMs) were constructed for the 19 species with more than 10 records in North America, as well as for T. cruzi. The 2010 Mexican national census and the 2007 National Forestry Inventory were used to analyse overlap patterns with ENMs. Niche breadth was greatest in species from the semiarid Nearctic Region, whereas species richness was associated with topographic heterogeneity in the Neotropical Region, particularly along the Pacific Coast. Three species, Triatoma longipennis, Triatoma mexicana and Triatoma barberi, overlapped with the greatest numbers of human communities, but these communities had the lowest rural/urban population ratios. Triatomine vectors have urbanised in most regions, demonstrating a high tolerance to human-modified habitats and broadened historical ranges, exposing more than 88% of the Mexican population and leaving few areas in Mexico without the potential for T. cruzi transmission. <![CDATA[A nuclear ribosomal DNA pseudogene in triatomines opens a new research field of fundamental and applied implications in Chagas disease]]> A pseudogene, designated as "ps(5.8S+ITS-2)", paralogous to the 5.8S gene and internal transcribed spacer (ITS)-2 of the nuclear ribosomal DNA (rDNA), has been recently found in many triatomine species distributed throughout North America, Central America and northern South America. Among characteristics used as criteria for pseudogene verification, secondary structures and free energy are highlighted, showing a lower fit between minimum free energy, partition function and centroid structures, although in given cases the fit only appeared to be slightly lower. The unique characteristics of "ps(5.8S+ITS-2)" as a processed or retrotransposed pseudogenic unit of the ghost type are reviewed, with emphasis on its potential functionality compared to the functionality of genes and spacers of the normal rDNA operon. Besides the technical problem of the risk for erroneous sequence results, the usefulness of "ps(5.8S+ITS-2)" for specimen classification, phylogenetic analyses and systematic/taxonomic studies should be highlighted, based on consistence and retention index values, which in pseudogenic sequence trees were higher than in functional sequence trees. Additionally, intraindividual, interpopulational and interspecific differences in pseudogene amount and the fact that it is a pseudogene in the nuclear rDNA suggests a potential relationships with fitness, behaviour and adaptability of triatomine vectors and consequently its potential utility in Chagas disease epidemiology and control. <![CDATA[Congenital Chagas disease: an update]]> Congenital infection with Trypanosoma cruzi is a global problem, occurring on average in 5% of children born from chronically infected mothers in endemic areas, with variations depending on the region. This presentation aims to focus on and update epidemiological data, research methods, involved factors, control strategy and possible prevention of congenital infection with T. cruzi. Considering that etiological treatment of the child is always effective if performed before one year of age, the diagnosis of infection in pregnant women and their newborns has to become the standard of care and integrated into the surveillance programs of syphilis and human immunodeficiency virus. In addition to the standard tests, polymerase chain reaction performed on blood of neonates of infected mothers one month after birth might improve the diagnosis of congenital infection. Recent data bring out that its transmission can be prevented through treatment of infected women before they become pregnant. The role of parasite genotypes and host genetic factors in parasite transmission and development of infection in foetuses/neonates has to be more investigated in order to better estimate the risk factors and impact on health of congenital infection with T. cruzi. <![CDATA[Congenital transmission of <em>Trypanosoma cruzi</em> in central Brazil. A study of 1,211 individuals born to infected mothers]]> Transmission of Trypanosoma cruzi during pregnancy is estimated to occur in less than 20% of infected mothers; however, the etiopathogenesis is not completely understood. The Centre for Studies on Chagas Disease provides confirmation of T. cruzi infection for individuals living in central Brazil. In this retrospective hospital-based study, all requests for diagnosis of T. cruzi infection in individuals less than 21 years old from 1994-2014 were searched. We end with 1,211 individuals and their respective infected mothers. Congenital transmission of infection was confirmed in 24 individuals (2%) in central Brazil, an area where the main T. cruzi lineage circulating in humans is TcII. This low prevalence of congenital Chagas disease is discussed in relation to recent findings in the south region of Brazil, where TcV is the main lineage and congenital transmission has a higher prevalence (approximately 5%), similar to frequencies reported in Argentina, Paraguay and Bolivia. This is the first report to show geographical differences in the rates of congenital transmission of T. cruzi and the relationship between the prevalence of congenital transmission and the type of Tc prevalent in each region. <![CDATA[Update on oral Chagas disease outbreaks in Venezuela: epidemiological, clinical and diagnostic approaches]]> Orally transmitted Chagas disease has become a matter of concern due to outbreaks reported in four Latin American countries. Although several mechanisms for orally transmitted Chagas disease transmission have been proposed, food and beverages contaminated with whole infected triatomines or their faeces, which contain metacyclic trypomastigotes of Trypanosoma cruzi, seems to be the primary vehicle. In 2007, the first recognised outbreak of orally transmitted Chagas disease occurred in Venezuela and largest recorded outbreak at that time. Since then, 10 outbreaks (four in Caracas) with 249 cases (73.5% children) and 4% mortality have occurred. The absence of contact with the vector and of traditional cutaneous and Romana’s signs, together with a florid spectrum of clinical manifestations during the acute phase, confuse the diagnosis of orally transmitted Chagas disease with other infectious diseases. The simultaneous detection of IgG and IgM by ELISA and the search for parasites in all individuals at risk have been valuable diagnostic tools for detecting acute cases. Follow-up studies regarding the microepidemics primarily affecting children has resulted in 70% infection persistence six years after anti-parasitic treatment. Panstrongylus geniculatus has been the incriminating vector in most cases. As a food-borne disease, this entity requires epidemiological, clinical, diagnostic and therapeutic approaches that differ from those approaches used for traditional direct or cutaneous vector transmission. <![CDATA[Retrospective distribution of<em> Trypanosoma cruzi</em> I genotypes in Colombia]]> Trypanosoma cruzi is the aetiological agent of Chagas disease, which affects approximately eight million people in the Americas. This parasite exhibits genetic variability, with at least six discrete typing units broadly distributed in the American continent. T. cruzi I (TcI) shows remarkable genetic diversity; a genotype linked to human infections and a domestic cycle of transmission have recently been identified, hence, this strain was named TcIDom. The aim of this work was to describe the spatiotemporal distribution of TcI subpopulations across humans, insect vectors and mammalian reservoirs in Colombia by means of molecular typing targeting the spliced leader intergenic region of mini-exon gene. We analysed 101 TcI isolates and observed a distribution of sylvatic TcI in 70% and TcIDom in 30%. In humans, the ratio was sylvatic TcI in 60% and TcIDom in 40%. In mammal reservoirs, the distribution corresponded to sylvatic TcI in 96% and TcIDom in 4%. Among insect vectors, sylvatic TcI was observed in 48% and TcIDom in 52%. In conclusion, the circulation of TcIDom is emerging in Colombia and this genotype is still adapting to the domestic cycle of transmission. The epidemiological and clinical implications of these findings are discussed herein. <![CDATA[Infection with <em>Trypanosoma cruzi</em> TcII and TcI in free-ranging population of lion tamarins (<em>Leontopithecus</em> spp): an 11-year follow-up]]> Here, we present a review of the dataset resulting from the 11-years follow-up of Trypanosoma cruzi infection in free-ranging populations of Leontopithecus rosalia (golden lion tamarin) and Leontopithecus chrysomelas (golden-headed lion tamarin) from distinct forest fragments in Atlantic Coastal Rainforest. Additionally, we present new data regarding T. cruzi infection of small mammals (rodents and marsupials) that live in the same areas as golden lion tamarins and characterisation at discrete typing unit (DTU) level of 77 of these isolates. DTU TcII was found to exclusively infect primates, while TcI infected Didelphis aurita and lion tamarins. The majority of T. cruzi isolates derived from L. rosalia were shown to be TcII (33 out 42) Nine T. cruzi isolates displayed a TcI profile. Golden-headed lion tamarins demonstrated to be excellent reservoirs of TcII, as 24 of 26 T. cruzi isolates exhibited the TcII profile. We concluded the following: (i) the transmission cycle of T. cruzi in a same host species and forest fragment is modified over time, (ii) the infectivity competence of the golden lion tamarin population fluctuates in waves that peak every other year and (iii) both golden and golden-headed lion tamarins are able to maintain long-lasting infections by TcII and TcI. <![CDATA[Evolution of <em>Trypanosoma cruzi</em>: clarifying hybridisations, mitochondrial introgressions and phylogenetic relationships between major lineages]]> Several different models of Trypanosoma cruzi evolution have been proposed. These models suggest that scarce events of genetic exchange occurred during the evolutionary history of this parasite. In addition, the debate has focused on the existence of one or two hybridisation events during the evolution of T. cruzi lineages. Here, we reviewed the literature and analysed available sequence data to clarify the phylogenetic relationships among these different lineages. We observed that TcI, TcIII and TcIV form a monophyletic group and that TcIII and TcIV are not, as previously suggested, TcI-TcII hybrids. Particularly, TcI and TcIII are sister groups that diverged around the same time that a widely distributed TcIV split into two clades (TcIVS and TcIVN). In addition, we collected evidence that TcIII received TcIVS kDNA by introgression on several occasions. Different demographic hypotheses (surfing and asymmetrical introgression) may explain the origin and expansion of the TcIII group. Considering these hypotheses, genetic exchange should have been relatively frequent between TcIII and TcIVS in the geographic area in which their distributions overlapped. In addition, our results support the hypothesis that two independent hybridisation events gave rise to TcV and TcVI. Consequently, TcIVS kDNA was first transferred to TcIII and later to TcV and TcVI in TcII/TcIII hybridisation events. <![CDATA[Modulation of <em>Trypanosoma cruzi</em>-specific T-cell responses after chemotherapy for chronic Chagas disease]]> The aim of this review is to describe the contributions of the knowledge of T-cell responses to the understanding of the physiopathology and the responsiveness to etiological treatment during the chronic phase of Chagas disease. T-helper (Th)1 and interleukin (IL)-10 Trypanosoma cruzi-specific T-cells have been linked to the asymptomatic phase or to severe clinical forms of the disease, respectively or vice versa, depending on the T. cruzi antigen source, the patient’s location and the performed immunological assays. Parasite-specific T-cell responses are modulated after benznidazole (BZ) treatment in chronically T. cruzi-infected subjects in association with a significant decrease in T. cruzi-specific antibodies. Accumulating evidence has indicated that treatment efficacy during experimental infection with T. cruzi results from the combined action of BZ and the activation of appropriate immune responses in the host. However, strong support of this interaction in T. cruzi-infected humans remains lacking. Overall, the quality of T-cell responses might be a key factor in not only disease evolution, but also chemotherapy responsiveness. Immunological parameters are potential indicators of treatment response regardless of achievement of cure. Providing tools to monitor and provide early predictions of treatment success will allow the development of new therapeutic options. <![CDATA[Biomarkers of therapeutic responses in chronic Chagas disease: state of the art and future perspectives]]> The definition of a biomarker provided by the World Health Organization is any substance, structure, or process that can be measured in the body, or its products and influence, or predict the incidence or outcome of disease. Currently, the lack of prognosis and progression markers for chronic Chagas disease has posed limitations for testing new drugs to treat this neglected disease. Several molecules and techniques to detect biomarkers in Trypanosoma cruzi-infected patients have been proposed to assess whether specific treatment with benznidazole or nifurtimox is effective. Isolated proteins or protein groups from different T. cruzi stages and parasite-derived glycoproteins and synthetic neoglycoconjugates have been demonstrated to be useful for this purpose, as have nucleic acid amplification techniques. The amplification of T. cruzi DNA using the real-time polymerase chain reaction method is the leading test for assessing responses to treatment in a short period of time. Biochemical biomarkers have been tested early after specific treatment. Cytokines and surface markers represent promising molecules for the characterisation of host cellular responses, but need to be further assessed. <![CDATA[A novel ABCG-like transporter of <em>Trypanosoma cruzi </em>is involved in natural resistance to benznidazole]]> Benznidazole (BZ) is one of the two drugs used for Chagas disease treatment. Nevertheless therapeutic failures of BZ have been reported, which were mostly attributed to variable drug susceptibility among Trypanosoma cruzi strains. ATP-binding cassette (ABC) transporters are involved in a variety of translocation processes and some members have been implicated in drug resistance. Here we report the characterisation of the first T. cruzi ABCG transporter gene, named TcABCG1, which is over-expressed in parasite strains naturally resistant to BZ. Comparison of TcABCG1 gene sequence of two TcI BZ-resistant strains with CL Brener BZ-susceptible strain showed several single nucleotide polymorphisms, which determined 11 amino acid changes. CL Brener transfected with TcI transporter genes showed 40-47% increased resistance to BZ, whereas no statistical significant increment in drug resistance was observed when CL Brener was transfected with the homologous gene. Only in the parasites transfected with TcI genes there was 2-2.6-fold increased abundance of TcABCG1 transporter protein. The analysis in wild type strains also suggests that the level of TcABCG1 transporter is related to BZ natural resistance. The characteristics of untranslated regions of TcABCG1 genes of BZ-susceptible and resistant strains were investigated by computational tools. <![CDATA[Reaching for the Holy Grail: insights from infection/cure models on the prospects for vaccines for <em>Trypanosoma cruzi</em> infection]]> Prevention of Trypanosoma cruzi infection in mammals likely depends on either prevention of the invading trypomastigotes from infecting host cells or the rapid recognition and killing of the newly infected cells by T. cruzi-specific T cells. We show here that multiple rounds of infection and cure (by drug therapy) fails to protect mice from reinfection, despite the generation of potent T cell responses. This disappointing result is similar to that obtained with many other vaccine protocols used in attempts to protect animals from T. cruzi infection. We have previously shown that immune recognition of T. cruzi infection is significantly delayed both at the systemic level and at the level of the infected host cell. The systemic delay appears to be the result of a stealth infection process that fails to trigger substantial innate recognition mechanisms while the delay at the cellular level is related to the immunodominance of highly variable gene family proteins, in particular those of the trans-sialidase family. Here we discuss how these previous studies and the new findings herein impact our thoughts on the potential of prophylactic vaccination to serve a productive role in the prevention of T. cruzi infection and Chagas disease.