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Chagas Disease

Current projects

Despite successes by the Southern Cone Initiative to reduce human Chagas disease, control of Triatoma infestans is challenging especially in the Gran Chaco region, where infection prevalence is the highest in the world (>20% of children and >80% of adults). Our field studies in the Bolivian Chaco demonstrated high infection rates in the indigenous communities, and identified reasons for the suboptimal delivery of insecticide during programmatic IRS campaigns. To increase IRS effectiveness and sustainability, we identified local sustainable building materials with community participation to improve the otherwise vulnerable adobe constructed houses to prevent triatomines from establishing breeding colonies inside wall crevices (providing protection against insecticide contact). Housing improvements plus IRS reduced the odds of house infestation by 71% and household vector abundance by 44% compared to houses under routine IRS treatment alone.