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Dogs may help collar Chagas disease
Date:7/12/2010

answering scientific questions, but we also want to help reduce the risk and the impact of the disease on the rural population," Kitron says.

Few government resources make it to the rural poor, and the main control for Chagas disease is spraying insecticide. "It's a limited strategy," Kitron says. "If you want to control Chagas disease, you have to look at the whole picture."

The researchers have shown, for example, that people with fewer than two dogs in a household are unlikely to become infected. It turns out that dogs are 14 times more effective at spreading Chagas disease than humans.

"Many of the dogs are not in good shape, they're exposed to a whole bunch of parasites and worms and they just get scraps to eat," Kitron says. "But the idea of just eliminating the dogs is not an option. People really care about their dogs."

An alternative may be to identify dogs that are most at risk of remaining infectious for a long period of time. These "super spreaders" could be targeted with insecticide collars. Research is also ongoing for a vaccine against T. cruzi in mongrel dogs.


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Contact: Beverly Clark
beverly.clark@emory.edu
404-712-8780
Emory University
Source:Eurekalert

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