Estimating the genetic structure of Triatoma dimidiata (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) and the transmission dynamics of Trypanosoma cruzi in Boyacá, eastern Colombia Thesis

short description

  • Master's thesis

Thesis author

  • Ballesteros , Nathalia
  • Cantillo Barraza, Omar
  • Castañeda, Sergio
  • Cruz-Saavedra, Lissa
  • Hernández, Carolina
  • Medina, Manuel
  • Medina-Alfonso, Mabel
  • Muñoz, Marina
  • Ramírez, Juan David
  • Suescun-Carrero, Sandra
  • Vega, Laura
  • Velasquez-Ortiz, Natalia


  • Chagas disease is considered a public health issue in Colombia, where many regions are endemic. Triatoma dimidiata is an important vector after Rhodnius prolixus, and it is gaining importance in Boyacá, eastern Colombia. Following the recent elimination of R. prolixus in the region, it is pivotal to understand the behavior of T. dimidiata and the transmission dynamics of T. cruzi. We used qPCR and Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) to evaluate T. cruzi infection, parasite load, feeding profiles, and T. cruzi genotyping for T. dimidiata specimens collected in nine municipalities in Boyacá and explored T. dimidiata population genetics. We found that T. dimidiata populations are composed by a single population with similar genetic characteristics that present infection rates up to 70%, high parasite loads up to 1.46 × 109 parasite-equivalents/mL, a feeding behavior that comprises at least 17 domestic, synanthropic and sylvatic species, and a wide diversity of TcI genotypes even within a single specimen. These results imply that T. dimidiata behavior is similar to other successful vectors, having a wide variety of blood sources and contributing to the circulation of different genotypes of the parasite, highlighting its importance for T. cruzi transmission and risk for humans. In the light of the elimination of R. prolixus in Boyacá and the results we found, we suggest that T. dimidiata should become a new target for vector control programs. We hope this study provides enough information to enhance surveillance programs and a future effective interruption of T. cruzi vector transmission in endemic regions.

publication date

  • June 29, 2022 7:44 PM


  • Chagas disease
  • Rhodnius prolixus
  • Triatoma dimidiata

Document Id

  • 78796985-72cd-4fae-9278-83edc6e2935e