A southwestern United States pilot investigation of triatomine–mite prevalence

Kyndall C. Dye-Braumuller, Hanna Waltz, Mary K. Lynn, Stephen A. Klotz, Justin O. Schmidt, Alvaro Romero, Marvin Stanley Rodriguez Aquino, Jose Ricardo Palacios Valladares, Pamela Michelle Cornejo Rivas, Melissa S. Nolan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: Chagas disease is a leading cause of cardiac failure in Latin America. Due to poor safety profiles and efficacy of currently available therapeutics, prevention is a priority for the millions living at risk for acquiring this clinically important vector-borne disease. Triatomine vectors of the Chagas disease parasite, Trypanosoma cruzi, are found in the southwestern United States, but risk for autochthonous transmission is thought to be low. The role of ectoparasitic mites is under-explored regarding the ecology of triatomines and Chagas disease transmission. Methods: Triatomine collections were performed using three common entomologic techniques in 2020–2021 from four different locations in southern Arizona and New Mexico. Triatomines were analyzed visually under a 112.5× microscope for the presence of externally attached mites. Following mite removal, triatomines were tested for T. cruzi infection by PCR. Results: Approximately 13% of the collected triatomines had mites securely attached to their head, thorax, abdomen, and legs. More than one mite attached was a common finding among ectoparasitized triatomines. Mite presence, however, did not statistically influence triatomine T. cruzi status. Conclusions: Our findings add to a growing body of literature demonstrating the sustainability of mite-infested triatomine populations throughout the Western Hemisphere. Future investigations are warranted to better understand the biologic impact of triatomine mites and their potential to serve as a potential biological control tool.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number811
JournalInsects
Volume12
Issue number9
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2021

Keywords

  • Chagas disease
  • Ectoparasites
  • Mites
  • Triatoma protracta
  • Triatoma recurva
  • Triatoma rubida
  • Trypanosoma cruzi
  • United States

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science

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