PublisherThe University of Arizona.
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AbstractThis thesis will examine three aspects of Trypanosoma cruzi transmission dynamics. The first project examines the prevalence of T. cruzi and the non-pathogenic trypanosome T. rangeli in pack rats in peri-urban areas of Tucson, Arizona. As a continuation of this study, we conducted a similar survey in Mariano Melgar, a district in the endemic region of Arequipa, Peru. These projects focus on the importance of the rodent reservoir both in endemic and nonendemic areas for human Chagas disease , and hypothesize that wild rodent populations may be contributing to continued disease transmission. The final study examines the potential for oral transmission of T. cruzi and focuses on the guinea pig as a reservoir host. Combined, these studies provide a holistic understanding of the rodent reservoir host. Understanding the transmission dynamics in both wild rodent and guinea pig populations can help us to better determine the role they play in human Chagas Disease transmission. Such research will provide insight for future intervention studies. The infectivity study in guinea pigs will also provide valuable information for potential modes of transmission in reservoir species. These studies will also provide a comparative analysis of different transmission cycles. By examining these cycles we can better understand the ecology of T. cruzi and its reservoir hosts.
Degree ProgramHonors College
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology