What is Chagas disease?
Chagas disease is caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, which is transmitted to animals and individuals by insect vectors that are found only in the Americas (mainly, in rural areas of Latin America where hardship is prevalent). Chagas disease (T. cruzi infection) is also referred to as American trypanosomiasis.
It is approximated that as numerous as 8 million people in Mexico, Central America, and South America have Chagas disease, the majority of whom do not know they are infected. If unattended, infection is lifelong and can be life threatening.
The effect of Chagas disease is not restricted to the rural areas in Latin America where vectorborne transmission occurs. Massive population motions from rural to city areas of Latin America and to other regions of the world have actually increased the geographical circulation and altered the epidemiology of Chagas disease. In the United States and in other areas where Chagas disease is now found however is not endemic, control strategies should concentrate on preventing transmission from blood transfusion, organ transplantation, and mother-to-baby (hereditary transmission).
How do Individuals get Chagas disease?
Individuals can become infected in various ways. In Chagas disease-endemic areas, the main way is through vectorborne transmission. The pest vectors are called triatomine bugs. These blood-sucking bugs get infected by biting an infected animal or individual. When infected, the bugs pass T. cruzi parasites in their feces. The bugs are discovered in homes made from products such as mud, adobe, straw, and palm thatch. Throughout the day, the bugs hide in crevices in the walls and roofs. During the night, when the residents are sleeping, the bugs emerge. Due to the fact that they tend to eat individuals’s faces, triatomine bugs are also referred to as “kissing bugs.” After they bite and consume blood, they defecate on the person. The person can end up being infected if T. cruzi parasites in the bug feces enter the body through mucous membranes or breaks in the skin. The unwary, sleeping individual might inadvertently scratch or rub the feces into the bite injury, eyes, or mouth.
Individuals likewise can end up being infected through:
- congenital transmission (from a pregnant female to her baby)
- blood transfusion
- organ transplant
- consumption of uncooked food contaminated with feces from infected bugs
- unexpected lab direct exposure
It is typically considered safe to breastfeed even if the mother has Chagas disease. However, if the mother has split nipples or blood in the breast milk, she should pump and dispose of the milk up until the nipples heal and the bleeding solves.
Chagas disease (also described as American trypanosomiasis) is caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, commonly transmitted in the feces of infected triatomine bugs. These fairly big blood-sucking pests, often called ‘kissing bugs’ (Figure 1), are discovered generally in Central and Latin America and in the southern United States. The bugs defecate during and after taking a blood meal.
Chagas disease is not transmitted from person-to-person like a cold or the influenza or through casual contact with infected individuals or animals.
If I have Chagas disease, should my member of the family be tested for the infection?
Possibly. They must be checked if they:
- might have become infected the very same method that you did, for example, by vectorborne transmission in Latin America
- received blood or organs that you contributed after you already were infected
- are your children and were born after you were infected or if.
- there are other needs to believe that they might have Chagas disease
In what parts of the world is Chagas disease found?
Individuals who have Chagas disease can be discovered throughout the world. Nevertheless, vectorborne transmission is restricted to the Americas, primarily rural areas in parts of Mexico, Central America, and South America. In some regions of Latin America, vector-control programs have actually succeeded in stopping this type of disease spread. Vectorborne transmission does not occur in the Caribbean (for instance, in Puerto Rico or Cuba). Uncommon vectorborne cases of Chagas disease have actually been noted in the southern United States.
What are the symptoms and signs of Chagas disease?
Much of the medical details about Chagas disease originates from experience with people who ended up being infected as children through vectorborne transmission. The severity and course of infection might be various in people infected at other times of life, in other methods, or with various stress of the T. cruzi parasite.
There are two stages of Chagas disease: the acute phase and the chronic phase. Both stages can be symptom free or life threatening.
The acute phase lasts for the first few weeks or months of infection. It generally happens unnoticed due to the fact that it is symptom totally free or exhibits just mild symptoms and signs that are not special to Chagas disease. The symptoms kept in mind by the patient can include fever, tiredness, body pains, headache, rash, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and vomiting. The signs on health examination can consist of moderate augmentation of the liver or spleen, swollen glands, and local swelling (a chagoma) where the parasite got in the body. The most acknowledged marker of acute Chagas disease is called Romaña’s sign, that includes swelling of the eyelids on the side of the face near the bite injury or where the bug feces were transferred or inadvertently rubbed into the eye. Even if symptoms develop during the intense stage, they typically disappear by themselves, within a couple of weeks or months. Although the symptoms deal with, if without treatment the infection persists. Seldom, kids (< 5%) pass away from severe inflammation/infection of the heart muscle (myocarditis) or brain (meningoencephalitis). The severe phase likewise can be severe in people with weakened body immune systems.
During the chronic stage, the infection may remain quiet for decades or perhaps for life. However, some individuals develop:
- cardiac complications, which can include a bigger heart (cardiomyopathy), heart failure, transformed heart rate or rhythm, and heart attack (unexpected death) and/or.
- digestive complications, which can consist of an enlarged esophagus (megaesophagus) or colon (megacolon) and can lead to problems with consuming or with passing stool.
The typical life-time risk of establishing one or more of these complications is about 30%.
What should I do if I think I have Chagas disease?
You must discuss your interest in your healthcare supplier, who will examine you and ask you concerns (for instance, about your health and where you have actually lived). Chagas disease is identified by blood tests. If you are discovered to have Chagas disease, you ought to have a heart tracing test (electrocardiogram), even if you feel fine. You might be described an expert for more tests and for treatment.
What if I’ve been detected with Chagas disease but have a normal EKG?
If you have been detected with Chagas disease, your doctor might perform an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG) to check for any issues with the electrical activity of your heart. Even if this test is regular, you still may have to be provided antiparasitic medication used to treat Chagas disease. Your physician might want to review CDC’s recommendations for examination and treatment for additional information.
How is Chagas disease treated?
There are two methods to therapy, both which can be life conserving:
- antiparasitic treatment, to kill the parasite and.
- symptomatic treatment, to handle the symptoms and signs of infection.
Antiparasitic treatment is most efficient early in the course of infection but is not restricted to cases in the acute phase. In the United States, this kind of treatment is offered through CDC. Your healthcare service provider can talk with CDC staff about whether and how you ought to be treated. Many people do not need to be hospitalized during treatment.
Symptomatic treatment may assist individuals who have heart or intestinal tract issues from Chagas disease. For instance, pacemakers and medications for irregular heart beats might be life saving for some patients with chronic heart disease.
I plan to take a trip to a backwoods of Latin America that might have Chagas disease. How can I avoid infection?
No drugs or vaccines for preventing infection are currently offered. Travelers who sleep inside, in sound facilities (for example, air-conditioned or evaluated hotel spaces), are at low risk for direct exposure to infected triatomine bugs, which infest poor-quality dwellings and are most active at night. Preventive measures consist of spraying plagued dwellings with residual-action insecticides, utilizing bed nets treated with lasting insecticides, using protective clothing, and applying insect repellent to exposed skin. In addition, tourists should know other possible paths of transmission, including bloodborne and foodborne.
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