Inthe Americas, 8 million people are infected with Chagas disease, and anad ditional 90 million people are at risk for infection. Little is known about the role bats play in the sylvatic transmission cycle of Trypanosoma cruzi, the parasite causing Chagas disease. Here, wecaptured batsinthe villages of Palmiche, Pachacutec, Nuevo San Martin, and Mayuriaga located in the Datem del Marañon Province in Loreto, Peru. Venous blood samples were collected by cardiac puncture or from the upper extremities, and trypanosomatids were identified by microscopy and molecularly. We collected blood samples from 121 bats on filter paper for molecular studies and 111 slides for microscopic examination of thin and thick blood smears from 16 different bat species. The prevalence of trypanosomatids in all bats species was 34.7% (42/121) and the prevalence of T. cruzi was 4.1% (5/121). In hematophagous bat species, the prevalence of trypanosomatids and T. cruzi was 36.9% (27/73) and 2.7% (2/73), respectively. In non-hematophagous bats, the prevalences of trypanosomatids and T. cruzi were 31.2% (15/48) and 6.2% (3/48), respectively. Also, we confirm the presence of T. cruzi in salivary glands of hematophagous bats Diaemus youngi. These results suggest a sylvatic cycle of trypa-nosomatid transmission in which bats may harbor infectious T. cruzi parasites that could be transmitted to humans via hematophagous bat bites or salivary contamination by non-hematophagous bats of vegetables consumed by humans.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
Funding support: This study was funded by the Advanced Medical Development Program (B1404) and Navy Medical Research Center.
Acknowledgments: We would like to express our gratitude to Dr. Hugo Rodriguez and Dr. Cristiam Carey from “Dirección Regional de Salud Loreto,” Neyser Satalaya Reategui, Víctor Manuel Iñipe, Juan Ramón Meza Velásquez, and Ismael Perez Petza from “Red de Salud del Datem del Marañon” for their logistic support, and Nelson Kuji Chimpa and Ismael Perez Petza from CORPI (Coordinadora Regional de los Pueblos Indígenas de San Lorenzo) for their support in providing consultation for the study and in executing the field work. We thank the Apus and the Pachacutec, Palmiche, Mayuriaga, and Nuevo San Martin communities for allowing us to perform bat captures in their jurisdiction. We also thank Arturo Chavéz, Víctor Manuel Iñipe, Christhian Álava Rios, Wilber López Cariajano, Taner Chanchari Púa, Rusvell Ushiñahua del Aguila, Otto Torres Chumbe, Weninger Mozombite Gonzales, and Diomedes Yalta Guela for their work in the bats capture. We would also like to thank Andres (Willy) Lescano for his methodological support, and Hugo Valdivia and Cesar Náquira for their careful review of the manuscript. This material is based upon work supported by the Naval Medical research Unit-Six (NAMRU-6) under Contract No. N62654-16-F-0066.
© Copyright 2018 by The American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene.