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Oral transmission

While oral transmission was already described in 1913 by Brumpt,111 it did not receive much attention until the last decade. At that time, it was also suggested as a natural infection route for wild and domestic animals eating infected triatomines.112,113

Experimental and natural infections of mammals via the oral route

The first experimental demonstration of this route of transmission was made by successfully infecting rats after feeding them with blood containing trypomastigote forms of T. cruzi.114 Then many other experiments conducted with mammals confirmed the transmission of T. cruzi via the oral route through eating infected triato- mines, contaminated triatomine feces, or food directly contaminated with the parasite or with contaminated triatomine feces.115-121

Successful infection of mice after eating food contaminated with parasites present in the anal glands of Didelphis marsupialis highlighted the risk of being infected through eating food contaminated with opossum dejections.122 Finally, effective oral transmission of T. cruzi was also demonstrated by feeding Didelphis albiventris with T. cruzi-infected rodents.123

These data on the natural or experimental infections of wild and domestic animals show the possible oral transmission of T. cruzi by eating (1) infected triato- mines; (2) infected animals; (3) food contaminated with contaminated feces of tria- tomines or anal gland secretions of opossums; and (4) directly contaminated feces of triatomines or anal gland secretions of opossums.

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