Association between nutritional indicators and infectivity of dogs seroreactive for Trypanosoma cruzi in a rural area of northwestern Argentina
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- Petersen, R., Gürtler, R., Cecere, M. et al. Parasitol Res (2001) 87: 208. doi:10.1007/s004360000324
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The association between the nutritional state of mongrel dogs naturally infected with Trypanosoma cruzi and their infectivity to Triatoma infestans bugs and immune response to Trypanosoma cruzi were studied in the rural village of Amamá, northwestern Argentina. All of the 97 evaluated dogs were classified into one of three categories of external clinical aspect (ECA) based on the degree of muscle development, external evidence of bone structures, state of the hair of the coat, existence of fatty deposits, and facial expression. ECA was significantly associated with two nutritional indicators, hematocrit and skin-fold thickness, but not with total serum proteins. For all dogs, hematocrit was significantly correlated with skin-fold thickness. The 2-year survival probability decreased significantly from 60.7% for dogs with good ECA to 45.9% and 31.2% for those with regular and bad ECA, respectively. The age-adjusted relative odds of infection for Triatoma infestans xenodiagnosis nymphs that fed once on a dog seroreactive for Trypanosoma cruzi decreased significantly as ECA improved, when tested by multiple logistic regression analysis. A delayed hypersensitivity reaction was observed in all of the seroreactive dogs with good ECA but only in 45–50% of those with regular or bad ECA. Dogs with bad ECA had a 2.6 and 6.3 times greater probability of infecting triatomines after a single full blood meal than dogs with regular or good ECA, respectively. Our study shows that the reservoir competence of dogs for Trypanosoma cruzi was associated with ECA, which is a surrogate and valid index of nutritional state.