Public street lights increase house infestation by Triatoma dimidiata, vector of Chagas disease in the Yucatan peninsula

Abstract : Triatoma dimidiata is one of the primary vectors of Chagas disease. We previously documented the spatio-temporal infestation of houses by this species in the Yucatan peninsula, Mexico, and found that non-domiciliated triatomines were specifically attracted to houses. However, the factors mediating this attraction remained unclear. Artificial light has been known for a long time to attract many insect species, and therefore may contribute to the spread of different vector-borne diseases. Also, based on the collection of different species of triatomines with light traps, several authors have suggested that light might attract triatomines to houses, but the role of artificial light in house infestation has never been clearly demonstrated and quantified. Here we performed a spatial analysis of house infestation pattern by T. dimidiata in relation to the distribution of artificial light sources in three different villages from the Yucatan peninsula, Mexico. In all three villages, infested houses were significantly closer to public street light sources than non-infested houses (18.0±0.6 vs 22.6±0.4 m), and street lights rather than domestic lights were associated with house infestation. Accordingly, houses closer to a public street lights were 1.64 times more likely to be infested than houses further away (OR, CI95% 1.23-2.18). Behavioral experiments using a dual-choice chamber further confirmed that adult male and females were attracted to white light during their nocturnal activity. Attraction was also dependent on light color and decreased with increasing wavelength. While public lighting is usually associated with increased development, these data clearly show that it also directly contributes to house infestation by non-domiciliated T. dimidiata.
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PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2012, 7 (4), pp.e36207. 〈10.1371/journal.pone.0036207〉
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Freddy Santiago Pacheco-Tucuch, Maria Jesus Ramirez-Sierra, Sébastien Gourbière, Eric Dumonteil. Public street lights increase house infestation by Triatoma dimidiata, vector of Chagas disease in the Yucatan peninsula. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2012, 7 (4), pp.e36207. 〈10.1371/journal.pone.0036207〉. 〈halsde-00693214〉

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