Home Economics American Trypanosomiasis Chagas Disease, Second Edition: One Hundred Years of Research
Vectorial capacity and domesticity
The vectorial capacity of a mosquito or a fly, be it an insect transmitting a virus or a protozoan, is often a matter of “host-parasite” specificity: the parasite is transmitted by one mosquito species, or a very few of them. The situation is very different for Chagas disease vectors, and this might be related to the mechanism of parasite transmission. The stercorarian parasite adapts to the lumen and epithelium of the bug intestine, it is evacuated with the feces dropped on the host’s skin, and penetrates actively through a local wound (the one produced by the bite, for instance), or directly through the eye mucosa (Romanha’s sign).
Adaptation to Trypanosoma cruzi
Adaptation to the protozoan T. cruzi does not seem to be a critical issue in the vectorial capacity of Triatominae. Different tribes, different genera, different species are actively transmitting the diverse genetic entities assembled under the name of T. cruzi. Moreover, other orders of insect seem to be able to ensure the complete cycle of T. cruzi inside the intestine: the Diptera Musca domestica,80 the Cimex lec- ticularius, and even Arachnidae were found infected by the T. cruzi.81
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