Rapid detection of human blood in triatomines (kissing bugs) utilizing a lateral flow immunochromatographic assay - A pilot study

Norman L. Beatty, Nicole Behrens-Bradley, Maria Love, Finn McCants, Shannon Smith, Justin O. Schmidt, Sarah A. Hamer, Patricia L. Dorn, Nafees Ahmad, Stephen A. Klotz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


OBJECTIVES: We tested a rapid and specific immunochromatographic assay (that detects human blood in forensic samples) to determine if human blood was present in triatomines and their fecal excreta. METHODS: We fed Triatoma rubida human blood (positive control) or mouse blood (negative control) and performed the assay on the abdominal contents and fecal excreta. Triatomine field specimens collected in and around human habitations and excreta were also tested. FINDINGS: The assay was positive in triatomines fed human blood (N = 5/5) and fecal excreta from bugs known to have ingested human blood (N = 5/5). Bugs feeding on mice (N = 15/15) and their fecal excreta (N = 8/8) were negative for human blood. Human blood was detected in 47% (N = 23/49) triatomines, representing six different species, collected in the field. MAIN CONCLUSIONS: The pilot study shows that this rapid and specific test may have applications in triatomine research. Further study is needed to determine the sensitivity of this assay compared to other well-established techniques, such as DNA- and proteomics-based methodologies and the assay's application in the field.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e190047
JournalMemorias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 2019


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology (medical)

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