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Epidemiology of Chagas disease in Northern Argentina. Uriel Kitron, Univ. of Illinois Ricardo E. Gurtler, Univ of Buenos Aires Heinrich Zu Dohna, Rockefeller Univ.   Ellen M. Dotson, CDC Maria C. Cecere, Univ of Buenos Aires Open discussion Symposium, ASTMH 53 rd Annual Meeting

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Epidemiology of Chagas disease in Northern Argentina

Uriel Kitron, Univ. of Illinois

Ricardo E. Gurtler, Univ of Buenos Aires

Heinrich Zu Dohna, Rockefeller Univ.  

Ellen M. Dotson, CDC

Maria C. Cecere, Univ of Buenos Aires

Open discussion

Symposium, ASTMH 53rd Annual Meeting

Miami, FL, Nov. 10, 2004

Infectious diseases grants awarded by NIH and NSF

Joint program supports initiatives that seek to understand the ecological and biological mechanisms that govern relationships between human-induced environmental changes and the emergence and transmission of infectious diseases.

4. Eco-Epidemiology of Chagas Disease in northwest Argentina

  • Ricardo Gurtler, M. Carla Cecere Gonzalo Vazquez-Prokopec, Paula Marcet, Judith Schachter Broide, Leo Ceballos, Victoria Cardinal – Univ. of Buenos Aires, Argentina

  • Joel Cohen, Heinrich Zu Dohna - Rockefeller University, NY

  • Sonia Blanco, Cynthia Spielman, Delmi Canale – National Vector Control Program, Argentina

  • Ellen Dotson, Ben Beard - CDC

  • Uriel Kitron, Anna Schotthoefer, Janet Thornhill - Univ. of Illinois

    Supported by NIH/NSF Ecology of Infectious Disease Program





Eco-Epidemiology of Chagas’ Disease

In Northwest Argentina – study area

Ikonos satellite image –

used for detailed mapping



Santiago del Estero



Dry Chaco - Semi-arid area; mean annual temp. of 22º C;

hot summers and cold winter nights

Landscape and community undergoing rapid change

Local economy is based on exploitation of the (rapidly disappearing) forest: Wood-chopping, production of coal and hardwood posts.

Chagas study - Specific Aims

  • Analyze spatial & temporal pattern of reinfestation by triatomine bugs and T. cruzi infection in bugs, dogs and people

  • Identify mechanisms underlying these patterns

  • Determine source of colonizing vectors and of T. cruzi infection using morphometrics and molecular analyses

  • Develop empirically based, spatially structured mathematical models of reinfestation and transmission

  • Develop risk maps at village, Department and Province-wide levels

Chagas study - Components

  • Field – vector, reservoir, domestic and human hosts, domestic, peridomestic and sylvatic environment

  • Laboratory – diagnosis, genetic variability of pathogen and vector, experimental studies

  • Computer – data management and analysis, predictions

Chagas study - Components

  • Field studies – parasitology, entomology, demography, epidemiology, spatial description and mapping, field experiments

  • Laboratory – diagnostic, morphometric, molecular, experimental

  • Computer – database, remote sensing, GIS, spatial statistics, modeling

Tasks in our 5-year study

  • create a georeferenced databaseto the structure level

  • measure infestation patterns in domestic, peridomestic and sylvatic habitats

  • study the population structure of bugs and trypanosomes

  • Determine infections rates in domestic and sylvatic animals

  • Understand and model the reinfestation process and transmission dynamics

1-m Panchromatic

4-m multi-spectral


The IKONOS satellite is a high resolution satellite capable of creating 1-m2 panchromatic and 4-m2 multi-spectral images.

The First Step:

Getting the GPS points and making the Sketch maps

in the field.



Second Step:

Get the IKONOS and process it.





together tiles


5 bands

Crop out smaller

Images for areas

Of interest

Third Step:

Georeferencing the image with GPS points

1- Bring in your GPS Points

2- Locate where they should overlay on the image

And end up with a comprehensive map structures.

And location data for further analyses

Skunk structures.

Rodents processing


Project is a true collaboration

between UBA, UIUC, CDC,

Rockefeller and

Nat’l Vector Control Programme;

and includes a strong training component