Home Economics American Trypanosomiasis Chagas Disease, Second Edition: One Hundred Years of Research
Pre-Hispanic settlements in areas of transmission of T. cruzi
The process of triatomine domiciliation occurred simultaneously with the process of human settlement near zoonotic transmission cycles of T. cruzi. The process was
Figure 2.3 Migration routes and spread of modern humans. Hypothesized evolutionary sylvatic cycle of Trypanosoma cruzi in America. Human contact with T. cruzi occurred as a simple addition to the already extensive host range around 8—10,000 years ago.
gradual, as has been demonstrated with other species of Triatominae today. The insects found enough food sources, feeding on men and domestic animals such as dogs, chickens, and guinea pigs. There is evidence that, as in modern times, people living with pets in their homes in endemic areas enhanced the transmission of the parasite. By comparing the migration patterns of pre-Colombian cultures in different areas of Latin America with the distribution of triatomine species, it is possible to infer the degree of passive dispersion between the parasite/insect vector and pre-Hispanic settlements.
One of the most extensive and detailed studies of this type was performed by Viana and Carpintero,35-37 from which one can draw the following information relating to the major pre-Hispanic cultures in the Americas:
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