Graciela Russomando1,+, Blanca Cousiño2, Zunilda Sanchez1, Laura X Franco1, Eva M Nara1, Lilian Chena1, Magaly Martínez1, María E Galeano1, Lucio Benitez2
1Universidad Nacional de Asunción, Instituto de Investigaciones en Ciencias de la Salud, Laboratorio de Biología Molecular, Asunción, Paraguay
2Ministerio de Salud Pública y Bienestar Social, Servicio Nacional de Erradicación del Paludismo, Asunción, Paraguay
BACKGROUND Since the early 1990s, programs to control Chagas disease in South America have focused on eradicating domiciliary Triatoma infestans, the main vector. Seroprevalence studies of the chagasic infection are included as part of the vector control programs; they are essential to assess the impact of vector control measures and to monitor the prevention of vector transmission.
OBJECTIVE To assess the interruption of domiciliary vector transmission of Chagas disease by T. infestans in Paraguay by evaluating the current state of transmission in rural areas.
METHODS A survey of seroprevalence of Chagas disease was carried out in a representative sample group of Paraguayans aged one to five years living in rural areas of Paraguay in 2008. Blood samples collected on filter paper from 12,776 children were tested using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay. Children whose serology was positive or undetermined (n = 41) were recalled to donate a whole blood sample for retesting. Their homes were inspected for current triatomine infestation. Blood samples from their respective mothers were also collected and tested to check possible transmission of the disease by a congenital route.
FINDINGS A seroprevalence rate of 0.24% for Trypanosoma cruzi infection was detected in children under five years of age among the country’s rural population. Our findings indicate that T. cruzi was transmitted to these children vertically. The total number of infected children, aged one to five years living in these departments, was estimated at 1,691 cases with an annual incidence of congenital transmission of 338 cases per year.
MAIN CONCLUSION We determined the impact of vector control in the transmission of T. cruzi, following uninterrupted vector control measures employed since 1999 in contiguous T. infestans-endemic areas of Paraguay, and this allowed us to estimate the degree of risk of congenital transmission in the country.
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Received 9 September 2016
Accepted 9 January 2017