Indigenous Mayangna and Miskitu inhabit Nicaragua’s remote Bosawás Biosphere Reserve, located in the North Caribbean Coast Autonomous Region. They are sedentary horticulturists who supplement their diet with wild game, hunting with the assistance of dogs. To test whether hunting dogs increased the risk of human exposure to protozoal zoonotic neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), we sampled dogs from three communities varying in population size and level of contact with other communities. We screened dog feces (n = 58) for Giardia and Cryptosporidium DNA and sera (n = 78) for Trypanosoma cruzi antibodies and DNA. Giardia DNA was detected in 22% (13/58) of samples; sequencing revealed the presence of both zoonotic genotypes (assemblages A and B) and dog-specific genotypes (assemblages C and D). Giardia shedding was associated with community and age. Older dogs and those in the two, more accessible communities had greater odds of shedding parasites. Seroprevalence of T. cruzi antibodies, indicating prior exposure, was 9% (7/78). These results contribute to the limited literature on NTDs in indigenous populations, and suggest hunting dogs can both serve as sentinels of environmental NTDs and pose zoonotic risk for their owners and communities.
- Domestic dogs
- Indigenous health
- Trypanosoma cruzi
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis