has been found in several cities and towns of those countries where the insect is a domestic or peridomestic pest. In Central America, urban infestations occur in the capitals of at least five countries.
During 2001 and 2002 a survey was carried out in the county of San Rafael, Heredia province, located 15 km northwest of San José, capital of Costa Rica, in order to determine the degree of infestation by T. dimidiata
in an entire city block.
Six peridomestic colonies of the insect were detected in the backyards of eight households. The ecotopes occupied by the insects consisted of store rooms with old objects, wood piles or firewood, and chicken coops.
A total of 1917 insects were found in the six foci, during two sampling periods, and a mean infection rate by Trypanosoma cruzi
of 28.4% was found in 1718 insects examined. The largest colony found in one of the households yielded 872 insects that were thriving mainly at the expenses of two dogs.
Opossums and adult insects were common visitors of the houses and it became evident that this marsupial is closely related to the peridomestic cycle of the Chagas disease agent. Lack of colonization of the insect inside the human dwellings is explained by the type of construction and good sanitary conditions of the houses, in contrast to the situation in most peridomiciliary areas.
Stomach blood samples from the insects showed that the main hosts were, in order of decreasing frequency: rodents, dogs, fowl, humans, opossums, and cats.
The fact that no indication of infection with Chagas disease could be detected in the human occupants of the infested houses, vis a vis the high infection rate in dogs, is discussed.