Chagas: A Tropical Disease Born in the Home
Our friends at ARCHIVE
have an interesting article on the links between this illness and the physical environment. A small part of this story is set out below.
While triatomine bugs feed at night, during the daytime they require dark cracks and crevices to dwell in, specifically the gaps resulting from mud, straw, and certain brick and wood constructions. The WHO recommends eliminating these conditions as an effective way of minimizing and even eliminating triatomine populations. The improvements entailed are relatively simple and inexpensive, and can be entirely implemented at a community level. Mud construction should be plastered to fill in all cracks or gaps, and a layer of cement should be added. All flooring should also be smoothed, compacted, and covered with cement. Straw roofs should be replaced with tiles or corrugated metal. Community-based programs involving local labor and construction materials have been shown to successfully eliminate triatomine infestations in numerous Latin American countries, but greater action and awareness is needed.