Evaluation of the Chagas Disease Control Program in Açucena Municipality, Rio Doce Valley, State of Minas Gerais, Brazil


Rev. Soc. Bras. Med. Trop.




Introduction Açucena Municipality, Rio Doce Valley, State of Minas Gerais, Brazil temporarily (2001-2005) interrupted epidemiological surveillance for Chagas disease. The objective of this work was to evaluate the Chagas Disease Control Program (CDCP) in Açucena and to offer suggestions for improving local epidemiological surveillance. Methods This study was conducted in three phases: I) a serological investigation of schoolchildren aged 5 to 15 years using an enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) test performed on blood collected on filter paper followed by ELISA, indirect immunofluorescence (IIF) and indirect hemaglutination (IHA) on venous blood for borderline cases and those in the gray zone of reactivity; II) vector evaluation using the data obtained by local health agents during 2006-2010; and III) examination by ELISA, IIF and IHA of serum samples from the inhabitants of houses where infected Triatoma vitticeps was found and evaluation of their knowledge about Chagas disease. Results Five individuals had inconclusive results in the ELISA screening but were seronegative for Chagas disease. The triatomine evaluation revealed the presence of three species: Triatoma vitticeps, Panstrongylus megistus and Panstrongylus diasi. Triatoma vitticeps was the most prevalent and widespread, with a higher (67%) index of Trypanosoma cruzi flagellates and evidence of colonization. Most of the inhabitants of the infested houses recognized triatomines and had basic knowledge about Chagas disease. Conclusions Although T. vitticeps is not clearly associated with Chagas disease transmission, these results highlight the importance of maintaining CDCP in endemic areas and the need for greater emphasis on epidemiological surveillance, especially in areas with important vectorial changes or that have been modified by human intervention.

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