The phrase, “T. rangeli is pathogenic to its insect vector,” is commonly found in peer-reviewed publications on the matter, such that it has become the orthodox view of this interaction. In a literature survey, we identified over 20 papers with almost the exact phrase and several others alluding to it. The idea is of particular importance in triatomine population dynamics and the study of vector-borne T. cruzi transmission, as it could mean that triatomines infected with T. rangeli have lower fitness than uninfected insects. Trypanosoma rangeli pathogenicity was first observed in a series of studies carried out over fifty years ago using the triatomine species Rhodnius prolixus. However, there are few studies of the effect of T. rangeli on its other vector species, and several of the studies were carried out with R. prolixus under non-physiological conditions. Here, we re-evaluate the published studies that led to the conclusion that T. rangeli is pathogenic to its vector, to determine whether or not this indeed is the “true” effect of T. rangeli on its triatomine vector.
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Vol. 41 • No. 1