Print version ISSN 0120-4157
DE LIMA, Héctor et al. Trypanosomatidae of public health importance occurring in wild and synanthropic animals of rural Venezuela. Biomédica [online]. 2006, vol.26, n.1, pp. 42-50. ISSN 0120-4157.
Introduction. Chagas disease and leishmaniasis are important public health problems due to their high frequency and broad distribution in Latin America. Understanding of the roles of reservoir animals is crucial for a global assessment of the epidemiology of these diseases. Objective. To identify parasites classed as Trypanosomatidae as they occurred in sylvatic animals, and to establish rates of coinfection. Materials and methods. Sylvatic animals were systematically captured in the rural area of El Carrizal, Merida State, Venezuela, betweenJuly, 1998 and February, 2000. The captures were made in Tomahawk type homemade traps, placed 15 nights per month throughout the study period. Blood was extracted from each captured and anesthetized animal by means of cardiac puncture. The search for trypanosomatids was undertaken by fresh blood examination, Giemsa stained blood smears and by means of blood-agar culture. Occasional xenodiagnoses were made to check diagnostic accuracy. The isolates obtained in culture media were identified by restriction fragment analysis and hybridization with specific probes. Results. Three species of sylvatic animals (n=215) were captured: Rattus spp. (135), Sigmodon hispidus (73) and Didelphis marsupialis (7). From them, three species of Trypanosomatidae were identified: Leishmania (Viannia) guyanensis, Trypanosoma cruzi and Trypanosoma lewisi. Trypanosoma. cruzi was identified in D. marsupialis (4/7), S. hispidus (1/73) and Rattus spp. (1/ 135), whereas L.(V.) guyanensis and T. lewisi were identified only in Rattus spp., 1/135 and 12/ 135, respectively. Conclusions. The coexistence of these genetically related hemoflagellates in sylvatic hosts was important for understanding the immunological interactions that may be established in reservoir animals, and the possible implications that this may have for the susceptible host. Finally, the identification of L.(V.) guyanensis in Rattus spp and T. cruzi in S. hispidus constituted the first reports of this relationship in Venezuela.
Keywords : Leishmania guyanensis; Trypanosoma cruzi; Trypanosoma lewisi; diseases reservoirs; Venezuela.