Mapping the niche of Chagas parasite

All 31 species of assassin bug found in Mexico are known carriers of T. cruzi, the parasite responsible for Chagas disease in humans. In this study, researchers used occurrence data from sources including GBIF to model the 19 most abundant triatomine species as well as T. cruzi.

Data resources used via GBIF : 1,400 species occurrences

All 31 species of assassin bug (subfamily Triatominae) found in Mexico are known carriers of Trypanosoma cruzi, the parasite responsible for Chagas disease in humans. In this study, researchers used occurrence data from sources including GBIF to model the 19 most abundant triatomine species as well as T. cruzi. The results show the potential for the parasite to occur in 91.2 per cent of Mexico, exposing almost 100 million Mexicans to at least one of the vector species. Based on a parasite transmission model, they conclude that human communities in nine out of 32 states in Mexico are at risk of infection. As many as 2 million Mexicans are currently infected, and the study suggests that without immediate actions on public health, those numbers will only rise.

Triatoma gerstaeckeri

Triatoma gerstaeckeri by Chuck Sexton via iNaturalist. Photo licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0

Citations

Ramsey JM, Peterson AT, Carmona-Castro O, Moo-Llanes DA, Nakazawa Y, Butrick M, Tun-Ku E, la Cruz-Félix K de and Ibarra-Cerdeña CN (2015) Atlas of Mexican Triatominae (Reduviidae: Hemiptera) and vector transmission of Chagas disease. Mem. Inst. Oswaldo Cruz. FapUNIFESP (SciELO), 339–352. Available at doi:10.1590/0074-02760140404.

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