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Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz

Print version ISSN 0074-0276On-line version ISSN 1678-8060

Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz vol.86 no.1 Rio de Janeiro Jan./Mar. 1991 

The importance of the opossum (Didelphis albiventris) as a reservoir for Trypanosoma cruzi in Bambuí, Minas Gerais state

Alexandre José Fernandes1 

Egler Chiari2 

Rodrigo Ribeiro Rodrigues1 

João Carlos Pinto Dias1 

Alvaro José Romanha1 

FIOCRUZ, Centro de Pesquisas René Rachou, Belo Horizonte, Brasil

Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais, Instituto de Ciências Biológicas, Departamento de Parasitologia, Belo Horizonte, Brasil


In a survey realized on the sylvatic and peridomestic environment at Bambuí county, Minas Gerais State, 44 (37.9%) out of 116 opossums (Didelphis albiventris) captured were found to be naturally infected with Trypanosoma cruzi. One handred and forty three parasite samples were obtanied from 43 infected opossums using simultaneously hemoculture, xenodiagnosis (Triatoma infestans, Panstrongylus megistus and Rhodnius neglectus) and examination of anal glands contents. The parasite samples were characterized according to six isoenzyme patterns. All samples, independently of the method of isolation, presented an isoenzyme pattern similar to the standard T. cruzi Z1, showing that either xenodiagnosis or hemoculture can used without selecting parasite subpopulation from naturally infected opossums. Preveous isoenzyme patterns reported for human T.cruzi isolates from same region were completely different. This isoenzyme dissimilarity between sylvatic and domiciliar environments suggests the existence of two independent T. cruzi transmission cycles in Bambuí. The epidemiological implicatinos of these results are discussed.


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