Eleven strains of Trypanosoma cruzi were isolated from patients with Chagas disease in central Brazil by xenodiagnosis and inoculation into newborn mice. Biological characterization and isoenzyme analysis showed that 6 strains were type II (zymodeme 2) and 5 were type III (zymodeme 1). Patients were treated with benznidazole or benznidazole plus nifurtimox. Mice infected with each isolated strain were treated for comparison with the results obtained in the respective patient. Evaluation of cure of the patients was based on the indirect immunofluorescence test, complement fixation reaction and xenodiagnosis. For the mice, haemoculture, indirect immunofluorescence testing, xenodiagnosis and inoculation of blood into newborn mice were used. Tests were performed 3–6 months after the end of treatment. The cure rate was 66–100% in mice infected with type II strains and 0–9% in those infected with type III strains. The correlation between treatment results in patients and mice was 81.8% (9 of 11 cases). Type II strains were more susceptible to treatment, in contrast to type III strains which yielded the majority of therapeutic failures.

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