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Ecology, evolution, and the long-term surveillance of vector-borne Chagas disease: A multi-scale appraisal of the tribe Rhodniini (Triatominae)

By Fernando Abad-Franch, Fernando A Monteiro, Nicol??s Jaramillo O., Rodrigo Gurgel-Gon??alves, Fernando Braga Stehling Dias and Lil??ia Diotaiuti


Chagas disease incidence has sharply declined over the last decade. Long-term disease control will, however, require extensive, longitudinal surveillance systems capable of detecting (and dealing with) reinvasion-reinfestation of insecticide-treated dwellings by non-domiciliated triatomines. Sound surveillance design calls for reliable data on vector ecology, and these data must cover different spatial scales. We conducted a multi-scale assessment of ecological and evolutionary trends in members of the tribe Rhodniini, including (i) a macroscale analysis of Rhodniini species richness and composition patterns across the Americas, and (ii) a detailed, mesoscale case-study of ecological and behavioural trends in Rhodnius neglectus and R. nasutus. Our macroscale overviewprovides some comprehensive insights about key mechanisms/processes probably underlying ecological and genetic diversification in the Rhodniini. These insights translate into a series of testable hypotheses about current species distributions and their likely causes. At the landscape scale, we used geometric morphometrics to identify dubious specimens as either R. neglectus or R. nasutus (two near-sibling species), and studied palm tree populations of these two vector taxa in five geographical areas. The data suggest that deforestation and the associated loss of habitat and host diversity might increase the frequency of vector???human contact (and perhaps Trypanosoma cruzi infection rates in vectors). Surveillance in central-northeastern Brazil should prioritise deforested landscapes where large palm trees (e.g., Attalea, Mauritia, Copernicia, Acrocomia or Syagrus) occur near houses. We anticipate that, by helping define the distribution patterns and ecological preferences of each species, multi-scale research will significantly strengthen vector surveillance systems across Latin Americ

Topics: Rhodniini, Triatominae, Rhodnius neglectus, Rhodnius nasutus, Biogeography, Ecology, Species richness, Species composition, Evolution, Chagas disease surveillance
Year: 2009
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