The Federal District of Brazil (DF) lies within the Cerrado biome, where open shrubland (savannas) is interspersed with riverside gallery forests and permanent swamps (veredas). Trypanosoma cruzi-infected native triatomines occur in the area, but the enzootic transmission of trypanosomatids remains poorly characterized. A parasitological survey involving sylvatic triatomines (166 Rhodnius neglectus collected from Mauritia flexuosa palms) and small mammals (98 marsupials and 70 rodents, totaling 18 species) was conducted in 18 sites (mainly gallery forests and veredas) of the DF. Parasites were isolated, morphologically identified, and characterized by PCR of nuclear (mini-exon gene) and kinetoplast DNA (kDNA). Six R. neglectus, seven Didelphis albiventris and one Akodon cursor were infected by trypanosomes; wild reservoir infection is documented for the first time in the DF. kDNA PCR detected T. cruzi in five R. neglectus and mini-exon gene PCR revealed T. cruzi I in isolates from D. albiventris. Parasites infecting one bug yielded T. rangeli KP1+ kDNA amplicons. In spite of the occurrence of T. cruzi-infected D. albiventris (an important wild and peridomestic reservoir) and R. neglectus (a secondary vector displaying synanthropic behavior), a low-risk of human Chagas disease transmission could be expected in the DF, considering the low prevalence infection recorded in this work. The detection of T. rangeli KP1+ associated with R. neglectus in the DF widens the known range of this parasite in Brazil and reinforces the hypothesis of adaptation of T. rangeli populations (KP1+ and KP1-) to distinct evolutionary Rhodnius lineages.
Trypanosoma cruzi; T. rangeli; Didelphis albiventris; Rhodnius neglectus; Enzootic transmission; Federal District, Brazil