Congenital Transmission of Trypanosoma cruzi in Naturally Infected Dogs

Eduardo E. Avalos-Borges, Matilde Jiménez-Coello, Jose I. Chan-Pérez, Nohemi Cigarroa-Toledo, Nisha J. Garg, Leonardo Guillermo-Cordero, Jose C. Segura-Correa, Antonio Ortega-Pacheco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Congenital transmission (CT) of Trypanosoma cruzi in dogs has not been clearly demonstrated, even though dogs are important reservoirs of this agent. Materials and Methods: Seventeen late pregnant dogs seropositive for T. cruzi were selected, and a total of 84 fetuses were obtained. Blood and heart tissues from the fetuses and dams, and placental tissue from dam were collected. All tissues were analyzed by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR) for T. cruzi DNA (TcDNA) and inflammatory infiltrate and pathology by histological examination. CT was determined when physical, histological, or molecular evidence of T. cruzi was detected in blood or tissues of the fetuses. Results: A general transmission frequency of 59% was found, and 0.20 ± 0.24 of fetuses per litter were infected. Dams that were qPCR positive for TcDNA in cardiac tissue or blood displayed a transmission frequency of 100% and 67%, respectively. The highest parasite burden was noted in dams that were positive for TcDNA in both blood (82E-01 ± 1.54E-01) and cardiac (5.28E+03 ± 8.85E+03) tissues. In fetuses, higher parasitic burden in blood and cardiac tissue was found in those carried by dams that were seropositive and qPCR positive for TcDNA in cardiac tissue and blood. No amastigote nests were recorded in the cardiac tissue of fetuses in the histopathological studies, but typical lesions of T. cruzi infection were identified in all fetuses where CT occurred. Conclusions: CT of T. cruzi occurred at a high frequency in naturally infected pregnant dogs from the endemic areas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)465-474
Number of pages10
JournalVector-Borne and Zoonotic Diseases
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 1 2023


  • Trypanosoma cruzi
  • congenital transmission
  • dog
  • heart tissue
  • qPCR

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Microbiology
  • Infectious Diseases
  • Virology


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