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Trypanosoma cruzi in dogs: electrocardiographic and echocardiographic evaluation, in Malinalco, State of Mexico

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Sandra Díaz González-Vieyra1, Ninfa Ramírez-Durán2, ángel H Sandoval-Trujillo3, Juan C Vázquez-Chagoyán1, Humberto G Monroy-Salazar1, Alberto Barbabosa-Pliego11Research Center of Advanced Studies in Animal Health, Veterinary Husbandry School, 2Medical and Ambiental Microbiology, Research Center of Advanced Studies in Health Science, School of Medicine, Autonomous University of the State of Mexico, Toluca, Mexico; 3Department of Biological Systems, Metropolitan Autonomous University, Xochimilco, Mexico City, MexicoAbstract: Chagas disease caused by Trypanosoma cruzi is an important public health problem in Latin America. Dogs are considered a risk factor for human Chagas disease, a sentinel for T. cruzi infection in endemic regions and an animal model to study pathological aspects of the disease. The potential use of dogs as indicators of human cardiac pathogenicity of local T. cruzi strains has been studied insufficiently. We studied electrocardiographic (EKG) and echocardiographic (ECG) alteration frequencies observed in an open population of dogs in Malinalco, Mexico, and determined if such frequencies were statistically associated with T. cruzi infection in dogs. Animals (n = 139) were clinically examined and owners were asked to answer a questionnaire about dogs’ living conditions. Two commercial serological tests (IHA, ELISA) were conducted to detect anti-T. cruzi serum antibodies. Significant differences between seropositive and seronegative animals in cardiomyopathic frequencies were detected through EKG and ECG (P < 0.05). Thirty dogs (21.58%) were serologically positive to anti-T. cruzi antibodies (to ELISA and IHA assays), of which nine (30%) had EKG and/or ECG alterations. From the remaining 104 (78.42%) seronegative animals, five (4.5%) had EKG and/or ECG abnormalities. Our data support the hypothesis that most EKG and ECG alterations found in dogs from Malinalco could be associated with T. cruzi infection. Considering the dog as a sentinel and as an animal model for Chagas disease in humans, our findings suggest that the T. cruzi strains circulating in Malinalco have the potential to produce cardiomyopathies in infected humans.Keywords: chagas disease, Trypanosoma cruzi, cardiomyopathy, electrocardiography, echocardiography, Malinalco, México

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