Feces from Triatoma infestans (Klug) infected with TrV showed a large number of well-preserved viral particles when examined by electron microscopy. No viral particles were observed in suspensions of feces from uninfected insects. Fecal suspensions inoculated parenterally into uninfected triatomines killed the insects within 36 h, showing that infective TrV is present in the feces of infected insects. It also is demonstrated that T. infestans becomes infected with TrV while feeding on contaminated chickens, and all the chickens used to feed a colony of triatomines infected with TrV showed high anti-TrV titer in their sera, although no TrV replication could be demonstrated in chickens. Oral infection of T. infestans by contaminated feces probably contributes to virus dispersal in nature. This observation provides the rationale for the potential use of TrV as a biological control agent.
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Vol. 37 • No. 2