Should I stay or should I go? Movement of adult Triatoma sordida within the peridomestic area of a typical Brazilian Cerrado rural household.


The movement of adult Triatoma sordida within the peridomestic area of a rural Brazilian household was evaluated via mark-release-recapture assays. A total of 210 insects had their pronota marked with fluorescent dyes and were released at different distances from the chicken coop (two, five, ten and 20 m), and from the horse corral (27, 32, 35, 46 and 56 m). Recaptures occurred in three consecutive 15-day intervals. Specimens were successfully recaptured at all distances up to 32 m. Bayesian models were used to estimate recapture probability, survival rates (males vs females) and population size. Although recapture probability was inversely proportional to distance for both sexes, females were more affected by increased distance. On the other hand, no significant difference was detected in the survival rates between males and females in a 15-day period. Fisher-Ford and Bayesian models gave more accurate population size estimates than Lincoln method.

Triatoma sordida adults were able to cover a distance of 32 m in 45 days. Recapture data modelling reveals that male dispersal was more effective suggesting that T. sordida males are more likely to contribute as potential colonizers of the peridomestic environment. Increasing the distance between the peridomestic structures and the sylvatic environment as much as possible appears to be a simple and feasible recommendation to reduce the contact rate between humans and infected bugs and ultimately Chagas disease transmission.

Chagas disease, or American trypanosomiasis, is an important neglected tropical illness caused by the flagellate protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi, which is primarily transmitted to humans by hematophagous insects of the subfamily Triatominae. Although knowledge on triatomine movement capabilities at the micro-geographical scale is of fundamental importance concerning the development of effective vector control strategies, it remains a poorly understood subject. Furthermore, survival rates and size estimates of natural populations are important topics to consider when evaluating transmission intensity.

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