Unprecedented incidence of Trypanosoma cruzi infections in a cohort of dogs directly detected through longitudinal tracking at multi-dog kennels, Texas, USA Institutional Repository Document uri icon


  • Canine Chagas disease, caused by the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, is increasingly recognized as a health concern for dogs in the USA, and infected dogs may signal geographic regions of risk for human disease. Dogs living in multi-dog kennel environments where triatomine vectors are endemic may be at high risk for infection. We monitored a cohort of 64 T. cruzi-infected and uninfected dogs from across 10 kennels in Texas, USA, to characterize changes in infection status over time. We used robust diagnostic criteria in which reactivity on multiple independent platforms was required to be considered positive. Among the 30 dogs enrolled as serologically- and/or PCR-positive, all but one dog showed sustained positive T. cruzi diagnostic results over time. Among the 34 dogs enrolled as serologically- and PCR-negative, 10 new T. cruzi infections were recorded over a 12-month period. The resulting incidence rate was 30.7 T. cruzi infections per 100 dogs per year. This study highlights the risk of T. cruzi infection to dogs in kennel environments, despite multiple vector control methods employed by kennel owners. To protect both dog and human health, there is an urgent need to develop more integrated vector control methods as well as prophylactic and curative antiparasitic treatment options for T. cruzi infection in dogs.

author list (cited authors)

  • Busselman, R., Meyers, A., Zecca, I., Auckland, L., Castro, A., Dowd, R., ... Hamer, S.

complete list of authors

  • Busselman, Rachel||Meyers, Alyssa||Zecca, Italo||Auckland, Lisa||Castro, Andres||Dowd, Rebecca||Curtis-Robles, Rachel||Hodo, Carolyn||Saunders, Ashley||Hamer, Sarah

publication date

  • June 2021