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Human movement may have brought Chagas disease to urban Peru

Date:
December 17, 2009
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
New research shows how the migration and settlement patterns associated with the rapid urbanization of Peru may link to Chagas disease transmission. The study, suggests that the practice of shantytown residents from Arequipa making frequent seasonal moves to rural valleys where Chagas vectors are present may have contributed to the growing presence of Chagas disease near urban Arequipa, Peru.

New research shows how the migration and settlement patterns associated with the rapid urbanization of Peru may link to Chagas disease transmission. The study, published December 15 in the open-access journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, suggests that the practice of shantytown residents from Arequipa making frequent seasonal moves to rural valleys where Chagas vectors are present may have contributed to the growing presence of Chagas disease near urban Arequipa, Peru.

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Chagas disease causes more morbidity and mortality than any other parasitic disease in the Western Hemisphere. Vector-borne transmission occurs only in the Americas, where 8-10 million people currently have the disease. Despite remarkable successes in vector control, major challenges remain, among them the increasing urbanization of the disease.

Therefore, the researchers held discussions with groups of residents from communities around Arequipa to talk about changes in their communities in the past 40 years, including the communities' evolving demographics and the historical and current presence of triatomine insects, known locally as chirimachas. They also conducted interviews with individual residents about their life histories, with a focus on their migration histories, the presence of chirimachas, and animal raising in each place of residence.

The study found that migrants to shantytowns in Arequipa were unlikely to have brought triatomines to the city upon arrival. Instead, certain characteristics of shantytowns and their residents were revealed as key to Chagas transmission. Frequent seasonal moves by shantytown residents to rural valleys with chirimachas are an important contributor. The recent, rapid settlement of shantytowns and the practice of raising domestic animals, often in close proximity to houses, provides a favorable environment for proliferation and dispersal of the vectors.

The researchers propose three key interventions for improving the control of chirimachas in Arequipa and other urban areas with an emerging presence of Chagas disease. These include intensifying vector surveillance in areas with highly mobile populations, creating educational campaigns for migrant workers in Chagas-endemic areas, and fomenting collaboration between the Ministries of Health and Housing to include new shantytowns in the vector surveillance system.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Bayer AM, Hunter GC, Gilman RH, Cornejo del Carpio JG, Naquira C, et al. Chagas Disease, Migration and Community Settlement Patterns in Arequipa, Peru. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, 2009; 3 (12): e567 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pntd.0000567

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Human movement may have brought Chagas disease to urban Peru." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 17 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091215141516.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2009, December 17). Human movement may have brought Chagas disease to urban Peru. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 31, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091215141516.htm
Public Library of Science. "Human movement may have brought Chagas disease to urban Peru." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091215141516.htm (accessed March 31, 2015).

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