Emerging Chagas Disease

Environment, Interactions Between Trypanosoma cruzi and its Host, and Health

Author(s): Antonio Teixeira, Clever Gomes, Silene Lozzi, Mariana Hecht, Ana Rosa, Pedro Monteiro,, Ana Bussacos, Nadjar Nitz and Concepta McManus

Pp: 156-167 (12)

DOI: 10.2174/978160805041310901010156

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


An intricate epidemiological chain involving the flagellate protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi is discussed at the environmental level, and in terms of fine molecular interactions in invertebrate and vertebrate hosts dwelling in different ecosystems. This protozoan has a complex, genetically controlled plasticity, which confers adaptation to approximately 40 blood-suckling triatomine species and to over 1,000 mammalian species, fulfilling diverse metabolic requirements in its complex life-cycle. The T. cruzi infections are deeply embedded in countless ecotypes, where they are difficult to defeat using the control methods that are currently available. Many more field and laboratory studies are required to obtain data and information that may be used for the control and prevention of T. cruzi infections and their various disease manifestations. Emphasis should be placed on those sensitive interactions at the cellular and environmental levels that could become selected targets for disease prevention. In the short term, new technologies for social mobilization should be used by people and organizations working for justice and equality through health information and promotion. A mass media directed program could deliver education, information and communication needed to protect the inhabitants at risk of contracting T. cruzi infections.

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