Chagas disease ecoepidemiology and environmental changes in northern Minas Gerais state, Brazil

<div><p> BACKGROUND Triatoma sordida and Triatoma pseudomaculata are frequently captured triatomine species in the Brazilian savannah and caatinga biomes, respectively, and in Brazilian domiciles. OBJECTIVES This study identified eco-epidemiological changes in Chagas disease in northern Minas Gerais state, Brazil, and considered the influence of environmental shifts and both natural and anthropogenic effects. METHODS Domicile infestation and Trypanosoma cruzi infection rates were obtained from triatomines and sylvatic reservoirs during the following two time periods: the 1980s and 2007/2008. Entomological and climatic data with land cover classification derived from satellite imagery were integrated into a geographic information system (GIS), which was applied for atmospheric correction, segmentation, image classification, and mapping and to analyse data obtained in the field. Climatic data were analysed and compared to land cover classifications. RESULTS A comparison of current data with data obtained in the 1980's showed that T. sordida colonised domiciliary areas in both periods, and that T. pseudomaculata did not colonise these areas. There was a tendency toward a reduction in T. cruzi infection rates in sylvatic reservoirs, and of triatomines captured in both households and in the sylvatic environment. T. sordida populations have reduced in the sylvatic environment, while T. pseudomaculata showed an expanding trend in the region compared to counts observed in the 1980's in the sylvatic environment. This may be related to high deforestation rates as well as gradual increases in land surface temperature (LST) and temperatures along the years. MAIN CONCLUSIONS Our results suggest a geographical expansion of species into new biomes as a result of anthropogenic and climatic changes that directly interfere with the reproductive and infection processes of vectors.</p></div>