INTRODUCTION: from an epidemiological point of view, more than 120 species of triatomine (Hemiptera, Reduviidae) are known. The occurrence and positivity for Trypanosoma cruzi in triatomines in 16 municipalities of the Triângulo Mineiro and Alto Paranaíba were evaluated from January 2002 to December 2004. METHODS: the triatomines were captured basically according to the classic norms of the National Health Foundation. The parasitological exams of the triatomines were conducted according to the technique described by the Ministry of Health. During the study period, 990 specimens of triatomines were captured and of these, 771 could be examined. RESULTS: five species were identified: Triatoma sordida, Panstrongylus diasi, Panstrongylus megistus, Panstrongylus geniculatus and Rhodnius neglectus. Triatoma sordida represented 71.5% of all the triatomines captured, followed by Panstrongylus megistus (18%), Rhodnius neglectus (9.3%), Panstrongylus diasi (0.8%) and Panstrongylus geniculatus (0.4%). Of the total number of triatomines examined, 2.7% were positive for Trypanosoma cruzi. Panstrongylus megistus was the species that presented the highest rates of infection by Trypanosoma cruzi (8.3%), followed by Rhodnius neglectus (2.9%) and Triatoma sordida (1.4%). CONCLUSIONS: there is a need to adapt to new circumstances in epidemiology, with greater emphasis on entomological surveillance, since the potential for adaptation of secondary species of triatomines exists, especially where Chagas' disease is already under control.
Triatomine; Chagas' disease; Epidemiology; Trypanosoma cruzi; Brazil