EVALUATION OF CHAGAS' DISEASE IN WILD AND DOMESTIC RESERVOIRS IN EL PASO COUNTY, TEXAS
Claudia Manriquez, Adam Vera, Eva Iniguez, Jose Orozco, Rosa Maldonado, Douglas Watts.
American trypanosomiasis, Chagas´ disease (ChD), is caused by the heamoflagellate protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. This parasitic disease is transmitted through triatominae “kissing bugs,” or less commonly, through blood transfusion from an infected donor. ChD covers a wide variety of mammalian hosts, making dogs and cats the most common in a domestic environment where humans are present. Currently, there are not many studies that could explain the precise role of dogs and cats in the life cycle of T. cruzi and the risk that poses to humans. The objective of this study is to provide a baseline epidemiological assessment of ChD occurrence in stray dogs and cats in El Paso County, Texas. So far, there are no records to indicate ChD is actually endemic in El Paso, Texas. To determine if an animal was infected with T. cruzi, 2 different diagnostic methods were performed using the animal’s blood and sera, which were previously collected. The first assay was a chemiluminescent enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (CL-ELISA), which is commonly used in the diagnosis of ChD in dogs; the second assay was a kinetoplastid DNA (kDNA) polymerase chain reaction (PCR). Samples from 48 dogs and 48 cats have been tested for ChD by kDNA-PCR. Of the canine samples, 19 (39.58%) were positive and 29 (60.41%) resulted negative. Of the feline samples, only 16 (28.07%) were positive for T.cruzi and 41 (71.90%) were negative.