Modeling Household Transmission of American Trypanosomiasis

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Science  27 Jul 2001:
Vol. 293, Issue 5530, pp. 694-698
DOI: 10.1126/science.1060638

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American trypanosomiasis, or Chagas disease, caused by the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi and transmitted by blood-feeding triatomine bugs, is a chronic, frequently fatal infection that is common in Latin America. Neither adequate drugs nor a vaccine is available. A mathematical model calibrated to detailed household data from three villages in northwest Argentina shows that householders could greatly reduce the risk of human infection by excluding domestic animals, especially infected dogs, from bedrooms; removing potential refuges for bugs from walls and ceilings; and using domestically applied insecticides. Low-cost, locally practicable environmental management combined with intermittent use of insecticides can sustainably control transmission of T. cruzi to humans in rural Argentina and probably elsewhere.

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