Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




The reduviid bug, Triatoma infestans, was Investigated as a possible vector of Rauscher murine leukemia, since these insects are closely associated in nature as inhabitants of rodent burrows.

The effect of triatomid ingestion of leukemic blood was tested by maintaining insects fed on leukemic mice for various periods, and then injecting whole-insect homogenates into test mice. The viremic period for mice injected with Rauscher virus was determined by inoculating a large group of mice and sacrificing them over an 18-day period. Blood and spleen preparations were assayed for presence of virus by inoculating test mice. Biological and mechanical transmission was attempted by feeding insects on leukemic mice and then on normal mice.

The infectivity of leukemic blood declines over a 48-hour period after ingestion by J_, infestans, and no disease was produced by blood maintained 72 and more hours in the insect. Viremia occurs as soon as 1 day after intraperitoneal inoculation of mice and persists over the 18-day period studied, with the exception of day 7. The titre of virus rises significantly. No evidence was obtained for either biological or mechanical transmission, although positive results were observed using an artificial means of mechanical transmission.

It was concluded that T_. infestans probably does not act as a primary vector of Rauscher leukemia, and no replication of virus takes place in triatomid tissues. The ability of T_. infestans to act as a low frequency or occasional vector was not tested.