Leveraging Technology to Manage Chagas Disease by Tracking Domestic and Sylvatic Animal Hosts as Sentinels: A Systematic Review
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Surveillance of Chagas in the United States show more is known about prevalence in animals and vectors than in humans. Leveraging health information technology (HIT) may augment surveillance efforts for Chagas disease (CD), given its ability to disseminate information through health information exchanges (HIE) and geographical information systems (GISs). This systematic review seeks to determine whether technological tracking of Trypanosoma cruzi-infected domestic and/or sylvatic animals as sentinels can serve as a potential surveillance resource to manage CD in the southern United States. A Boolean search string was used in PubMed and the Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health Literature (CINAHL). Relevance of results was established and analysis of articles was performed by multiple reviewers. The overall Cohen statistic was 0.73, demonstrating moderate agreement among the study team. Four major themes were derived for this systematic review (n = 41): animals act as reservoir hosts to perpetuate CD, transmission to humans could be dependent on cohabitation proximity, variations in T. cruzi genotypes could lead to different clinical manifestations, and leveraging technology to track T. cruzi in domestic animals could reveal prevalent areas or "danger zones." Overall, our systematic review identified that HIT can serve as a surveillance tool to manage CD. Health information technology can serve as a surveillance tool to manage CD. This can be accomplished by tracking domestic and/or sylvatic animals as sentinels within a GIS. Information can be disseminated through HIE for use by clinicians and public health officials to reach at-risk populations.