Chagas Disease

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Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) observed World Chagas Disease Day on April 14, 2023 to raise awareness about this little-known disease that affects millions every year.

About Chagas Disease: ·       

  • It is also called American trypanosomiasis, is a communicable parasitic disease. 
  • It is caused by the parasite protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi.
  • The disease is named after physician Carlos Chagas who first detected it in a Brazillian child in 1909.
  • Symptoms:
    • Fever, headaches, rashes and inflammatory nodules, nausea or diarrhoea and muscle or abdominal pain.
    • A majority of the patients (70-80 per cent) show an asymptomatic clinical course throughout their lives, making early detection challenging.
  • Transmission of the disease:
    • The parasites are mainly transmitted by a family of bugs called ‘triatomines’, also known as the ‘kissing bug’.
    • An individual can also contract this disease through congenital transmission (pregnant woman to their baby), blood transfusions, organ transplantation, consumption of uncooked food contaminated with faecal matter of infected bugs or even accidental laboratory exposure.
    • The disease cannot propagate by casual contact with infected humans or animals. 
  • Geographical spread: The disease remains most prevalent in Latin America.The most important vectors are found in the rural parts of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Peru, Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Panama, and Central America. 
  • Treatment:
    • There are currently no vaccines available for Chagas disease.
    • The disease can be treated with antiparasitic medicines Benznidazole and Nifurtimox


Q1) What is parasitic disease?

A parasitic disease is an infectious disease caused by parasites, which are organisms that live on or inside other organisms (hosts) and derive nutrients at their expense. Parasites can be single-celled or multicellular organisms and can infect animals, plants, and even humans.

Source: World Chagas Disease Day: All you need to know about the parasitic infection that kills 12,000 people every year