The host-vector-parasite interactions in Chagas disease peridomestic transmission cycles in the United States are not yet well understood. Trypanosoma cruzi (Kinetoplastida: Trypanosomatidae) infection prevalence and bloodmeal sources were determined for adult and immature triatomine (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) specimens collected from residential settings in central Texas. Sequenced cytochrome b DNA segments obtained from triatomine digestive tract identified nine vertebrate hosts and one invertebrate host in four triatomine species (Triatoma gerstaeckeri, Triatoma indictiva, Triatoma protracta, and Triatoma sanguisuga). The broad range of wild and domestic host species detected in triatomine specimens collected from residential sites indicates high host diversity and potential movement between the sylvatic and peridomestic settings. Domestic dogs appear to be key in the maintenance of the peridomestic transmission cycle as both a blood host for the triatomine vectors and a potential reservoir for the parasite. The high rate of T. cruzi infection among triatomine specimens that were collected from inside houses, outside houses, and dog kennels (69, 81, and 82%, respectively) suggests a current risk for Chagas disease vector-borne transmission for humans and domestic animals in residential settings in Texas because of overlap with the sylvatic cycle.
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Vol. 50 • No. 5