NERO: First Report of Colonies of Sylvatic Triatoma infestans in the Paraguayan Chaco, Using a Trained Dog

Confirmation of sylvatic colonies of Triatoma infestans has a significant connotation for Paraguay. Prior to our findings, we believed this vector —unlike in other regions of the Gran Chaco—was living exclusively in domestic and peridomestic habitats. We never considered the possibility of sylvatic species re-infesting domiciliary dwellings. After this discovery, the frame of transmission dynamics of Trypanosoma cruzi in the Paraguayan Chaco proposes new research perspectives. This also opens the door to promote knowledge regarding potential genetic flows between different T. infestans populations, reservoirs associated with their colonies, as well as their impact over control actions. Fieldwork for wild species identification is difficult and often unsuccessful, we used several techniques and tools, proven by others such as light traps, and mouse-baited sticky traps however, the triatomine collection in our study area was scarce or null. Incorporating a trained dog – NERO – to our work team has been a highly successful and productive initiative. The surprising ability NERO has shown will enable us to provide specific data regarding the still unknown wild ecotopes of T. infestans, as well as the potential use of trained dogs as a community surveillance tool of triatomine species considered particularly important for public health. Rolón M, Vega MC, Román F, Gómez A, Rojas de Arias A (2011) First Report of Colonies of SylvaticTriatoma infestans (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) in the Paraguayan Chaco, Using a Trained Dog. PLoS Negl Trop Dis 5(5): e1026. doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0001026

Female (A) and male (B) T. infestans dark morph captured from sylvatic areas in the paraguayan Chaco.