Assessing the risk zones of Chagas' disease in Chile, in a world marked by global climatic change

<div><p> BACKGROUND Vector transmission of Trypanosoma cruzi appears to be interrupted in Chile; however, data show increasing incidence of Chagas' disease, raising concerns that there may be a reemerging problem. OBJECTIVE To estimate the actual risk in a changing world it is necessary to consider the historical vector distribution and correlate this distribution with the presence of cases and climate change. METHODS Potential distribution models of Triatoma infestans and Chagas disease were performed using Maxent, a machine-learning method. FINDINGS Climate change appears to play a major role in the reemergence of Chagas' disease and T. infestans in Chile. The distribution of both T. infestans and Chagas' disease correlated with maximum temperature, and the precipitation during the driest month. The overlap of Chagas' disease and T. infestans distribution areas was high. The distribution of T. infestans, under two global change scenarios, showed a minimal reduction tendency in suitable areas. MAIN CONCLUSION The impact of temperature and precipitation on the distribution of T. infestans, as shown by the models, indicates the need for aggressive control efforts; the current control measures, including T. infestans control campaigns, should be maintained with the same intensity as they have at present, avoiding sylvatic foci, intrusions, and recolonisation of human dwellings.</p></div>