Chagas disease is a complex public health problem that has been underestimated in Ecuador. Here we review the relevant published information, and present unpublished and new data that help to understand the current Chagas disease epidemiological situation and its evolution in the country. Three main characteristics have been identified: (i) persistence of Trypanosoma cruzi transmission in already known foci; (ii) a marked endemicity in some urban areas of Guayaquil; and (iii) the transformation of new Amazon foci into truly endemic areas. The situation in other suspect areas remains uncertain. Five
Triatominae species have been implicated in the transmission of T. cruzi to people in Ecuador (Triatoma dimidiata, Rhodnius ecuadoriensis, R. pictipes, R. robustus and Panstrongylus geniculatus), but some others may also play a role in some areas (P. rufotuberculatus, P. howardi, T. carrioni and P. chinai). Other Triatominae reported seem to have little or no epidemiological relevance (T. venosa, T. dispar, Eratyrus mucronatus, E. cuspidatus, P. lignarius and Cavernicola pilosa). High frequency of acute cases and severe chronic disease has been observed. Although cardiomyopathy is more frequent, serious digestive disease is also present. It is
estimated that around 120,000-200,000 people may be infected. 2.2 to 3.8 million people are estimated to live under transmission risk conditions.