Seroprevalence of Chagas' disease in Texas among shelter dogs in Houston and the Rio Grande Valley region and its implication for human infection
Chagas’ disease, also called American Trypanosomiasis, is a vector-borne disease caused by the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. T. cruzi is spread by triatomine insects, commonly referred to as ‘kissing bugs.’ After the insect takes a blood meal from its animal or human host, it usually defecates near the bite wound. The parasite is present in the feces, and when rubbed into the bite wound or mucous membranes by the host, infection ensues. Chagas’ disease is highly endemic in Central and South America where it originated. Many people in these endemic areas live in poor conditions surrounded by animals, mainly dogs, that can serve as a possible link to human infection. In Chagas’ endemic countries, dogs can be used as a sentinel to infer risk for human infection. In Texas, the prevalence of Chagas’ and risk for human infection is largely unknown. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of Chagas’ disease in shelter dogs in Houston, Texas and the Rio Grande Valley region by using an immunochromatographic assay (Chagas’ Stat-Pak) to test for the presence of T. cruzi antibodies. Of the 822 samples tested, 26 were found to be positive (3.2%). In both locations, Chagas’ prevalence increased over time. This study found that dogs, especially strays, can serve as sentinels for disease activity. Public health authorities can implement this strategy to understand the level of Chagas’ activity in a defined geographic area and prevent human infection.^
Agriculture, Animal Pathology|Health Sciences, Public Health|Biology, Veterinary Science
"Seroprevalence of Chagas' disease in Texas among shelter dogs in Houston and the Rio Grande Valley region and its implication for human infection"
(January 1, 2011).
Texas Medical Center Dissertations (via ProQuest).