We evaluated the presence and distribution of Trypanosoma cruzi
DNA in a mummy presenting with megacolon that was dated as approximately 560 ± 40 years old. The mummy was from the Peruaçu Valley in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil. All samples were positive for T. cruzi
minicircle DNA, demonstrating the presence and broad dissemination of the parasite in this body. From one sample, a mini-exon gene fragment was recovered and characterized by sequencing and was found to belong to the T. cruzi
I genotype. This finding suggests that T. cruzi
I infected humans during the pre-Columbian times and that, in addition to T. cruzi
infection, Chagas disease in Brazil most likely preceded European colonization.