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Modelling geospatial distributions of the triatomine vectors of Trypanosoma cruzi in Latin America

Bender, Andreas; Python, Andre; Lindsay, Steve W.; Golding, Nick; Moyes, Catherine L.

Modelling geospatial distributions of the triatomine vectors of Trypanosoma cruzi in Latin America Thumbnail


Andreas Bender

Andre Python

Nick Golding

Catherine L. Moyes


Approximately 150 triatomine species are suspected to be infected with the Chagas parasite, Trypanosoma cruzi, but they differ in the risk they pose to human populations. The largest risk comes from species that have a domestic life cycle and these species have been targeted by indoor residual spraying campaigns, which have been successful in many locations. It is now important to consider residual transmission that may be linked to persistent populations of dominant vectors, or to secondary or minor vectors. The aim of this project was to define the geographical distributions of the community of triatomine species across the Chagas endemic region. Presence-only data with over 12, 000 observations of triatomine vectors were extracted from a public database and target-group background data were generated to account for sampling bias in the presence data. Geostatistical regression was then applied to estimate species distributions and fine-scale distribution maps were generated for thirty triatomine vector species including those found within one or two countries and species that are more widely distributed from northern Argentina to Guatemala, Bolivia to southern Mexico, and Mexico to the southern United States of America. The results for Rhodnius pictipes, Panstrongylus geniculatus, Triatoma dimidiata, Triatoma gerstaeckeri, and Triatoma infestans are presented in detail, including model predictions and (un)certainty in these predictions, and the model validation results for each of the 30 species are presented in full. The predictive maps for all species are made publicly available so that they can be used to assess the communities of vectors present within different regions of the endemic zone. The maps are presented alongside key indicators for the capacity of each species to transmit T. cruzi to humans. These indicators include infection prevalence, evidence for human blood meals, and colonisation or invasion of homes. A summary of the published evidence for these indicators shows that the majority of the 30 species mapped by this study have the potential to transmit T. cruzi to humans.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date May 22, 2020
Online Publication Date Aug 10, 2020
Publication Date 2020
Deposit Date Aug 11, 2020
Publicly Available Date Aug 23, 2020
Journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Print ISSN 1935-2727
Publisher Public Library of Science
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 14
Issue 8
Article Number e0008411
Public URL


Published Journal Article (1.9 Mb)

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Copyright Statement
Copyright: © 2020 Bender et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

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