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Revista de Saúde Pública
On-line version ISSN 1518-8787Print version ISSN 0034-8910
RIBEIRO, Rosa Domingues; GARCIA, Terezinha Aparecida Rissato e and BONOMO, Walter Chinelatto. A contribution to the study of the mechanisms of transmission of the etiological agent of "Chagas" disease. Rev. Saúde Pública [online]. 1987, vol.21, n.1, pp.51-54. ISSN 1518-8787. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0034-89101987000100008.
The infection of several opossums Didelphis albiventris, male, female and young, by oral means by feeding them either on infected triatomines or on mice experimentally infected by Tripanosoma cruzi, is studied. After feeding uncontaminated opossums on carcasses or living specimens of baby mice, infected with the Bolivian strain of T.cruzi, a 60.0% infection index was obtained on xenodiagnoses. On the other hand, after feeding uncontaminated opossums on infected triatomines, an 83.3% index was obtained on xenodiagnoses. These results indicate that the feeding on infected mammals, as well as the ingestion of infected triatomines by omnivorous animals gives high infection indices and demonstrates the importance of the oral route as the means of access of T. cruzi. The also show the importance of opossums as reservoirs of the parasite in the natural focci of infection and as carriers of T. cruzi to the domicile because of their migratory habits.
Keywords : Trypanosoma cruzi; Opossums [parasitology]; Mice [parasitology]; Triatomidae [parasitology]; Disease vectors.