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Journal of Tropical Medicine
Volume 2012, Article ID 705326, 15 pages
Research Article

Geographic Distribution of Chagas Disease Vectors in Brazil Based on Ecological Niche Modeling

1Laboratório de Parasitologia Médica e Biologia de Vetores, Área de Patologia, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade de Brasília, Campus Universitário Darcy Ribeiro, 70904-970 Brasília, DF, Brazil
2Laboratório Nacional e Internacional de Referência em Taxonomia de Triatomíneos, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, FIOCRUZ, 21045-900 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
3Laboratório de Biodiversidade Entomológica, Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, FIOCRUZ, 21045-900 Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil
4Biodiversity Institute, The University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045-7593, USA

Received 16 July 2011; Accepted 23 October 2011

Academic Editor: Maria Goreti Rosa-Freitas

Copyright © 2012 Rodrigo Gurgel-Gonçalves et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Although Brazil was declared free from Chagas disease transmission by the domestic vector Triatoma infestans, human acute cases are still being registered based on transmission by native triatomine species. For a better understanding of transmission risk, the geographic distribution of Brazilian triatomines was analyzed. Sixteen out of 62 Brazilian species that both occur in > 20 municipalities and present synanthropic tendencies were modeled based on their ecological niches. Panstrongylus geniculatus and P. megistus showed broad ecological ranges, but most of the species sort out by the biome in which they are distributed: Rhodnius pictipes and R. robustus in the Amazon; R. neglectus, Triatoma sordida, and T. costalimai in the Cerrado; R. nasutus, P. lutzi, T. brasiliensis, T. pseudomaculata, T. melanocephala, and T. petrocchiae in the Caatinga; T. rubrovaria in the southern pampas; T. tibiamaculata and T. vitticeps in the Atlantic Forest. Although most occurrences were recorded in open areas (Cerrado and Caatinga), our results show that all environmental conditions in the country are favorable to one or more of the species analyzed, such that almost nowhere is Chagas transmission risk negligible.