Continuing in the quest to highlight and ignite conversation on Neglected Tropica diseases (NTDs), this week’s focus is on Chagas disease. Chagas disease also known as American Trypanosomiasis is a parasitic disease affecting affecting millions of people. Caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, the disease is spread by Triatomine bugs (kissing bugs) with high prevalence in Latin America. https://www.paho.org/en/topics/chagas-disease.
The disease is endemic in 21 countries and is one of the vector borne diseases threatening populations in the Americas region including malaria and dengue (Figure 1). In the past decade the disease has been detected outside the region including Africa, Europe, East Mediterranean and Western Pacific regions.
Chagas disease affects both children and adults with newborns infected during pregnancy as well as during child birth. Here are 5 important things you need to know about Chagas disease (Figure 2).