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t-cruzi parasite


IInfectious diseases, in spite of antibiotic and other treatments, remain one of the biggest medical problems to date. The overall problem of understanding host-parasite dynamics is extremely important, as it is intrinsic to the study of infection at all organismal scales. Many examples of such host-parasite systems exist, with debilitating and/or fatal consequences for humans all over the planet; malaria, schistosomiasis, and Chagas’ Disease, for example. Epidemiologically, it is estimated that around 2 billion people are estimated to harbor STH and schistosomiasis worms. Morbidity estimates are that 300 million individuals are severely ill with worms, of which 50% are school-age children. Mortality estimates, for Africa alone, find that the death toll due to schistosomiasis may be as high as 200,000 per year (Bundy et al., 1997; Van der Werf et al., 2003). Despite recent advances in the control of Chagas’ Disease (Schofield and Dias, 1999) , millions of Latin Americans and numerous US citizens remain at risk for infection with the T. cruzi parasite, the causal agent in Chagas’ Disease. In terms of disability adjusted life years, Chagas’ Disease is globally ranked behind only malaria and schistosomiasis as the most serious parasitic diseases worldwide (World Bank, 1993; Schofield and Dias, 1999) . Twelve species of triatomines are known to occur in the United States, the most important being Triatoma sanguisuga in the eastern United States, Triatoma gerstaeckeri in the region of Texas and New Mexico, and Triatoma rubida and Triatoma protracta in Arizona and California (Lent & Wygodzinski, 1979; Ryckman, 1984).


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Center for the Study of Biological Complexity
Virginia Commonwealth University

Date last modified: 11/5/07
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