Chagas Disease : Growing Healthcare Threat for Americans

Chagas diseas, a parasitic infection that can lead to intense heart problems and death if not found and treated early, this condition affects large numbers of individuals worldwide, mostly in Latin America. Now, new study recommends it is progressively being observed in the southern part of US and poses a rising potential public health threat for People in America.

Scientists from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, provided the outcomes of their study on 4th November at the 63rd Annual Meeting of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene (ASTMH).

They say a big area of the southern US faces a tangible but generally un-recognized threat of contracting Chagas disease.

Chagas disease (American trypanosomiasis) is triggered by Trypanosoma cruzi, a protozoan parasite associated to the African Trypanosoma that leads to sleeping sickness (African trypanosomiasis).

The infection takes place via bloodsucking bugs that bring the parasite. The bugs are often known as “kissing bugs” simply because they feed on people’s faces while in the night. The parasite transfers to the new host via the waste of the kissing bug. This is settled on the skin and then gets into the blood-stream either via the bite, or via other routes, for example when the person scratches the bite area.

Once the parasite goes into the bloodstream, it moves to the heart and deposit there, and damages the heart muscle. As much as 30% of infected individuals have chronic heart problems and around 10% get ill with other health issues including intestinal and neurological problems.

Many contaminated individuals do not recognize they have Chagas till symptoms become serious – and even then, they can be misdiagnosed as other problems, just like cardiovascular disease.

Chagas disease – which can also be propagate via the blood supply from donors contaminated with the parasite – can be treated if found early. It impacts about 8 million individuals worldwide, mainly in Mexico, Central America and South America.

Cases of Chagas disease growing in Texas

On the other hand, the Baylor researchers say conditions of Chagas disease are progressively being observed in Texas, and at greater levels than formerly thought. They also consider a great amount of American cases have become infected within the US.

The team publish some of its results in the American Journal of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene. Leaving comments on those results, and those of other work they performed, Baylor epidemiologist Melissa Nolan Garcia, states that:

“We were shocked to not only obtain such a great rate of people examining positive for Chagas in their blood, but also great rates of heart disease that seem to be Chagas-related. We have been working with doctors around the state to maximize attention and diagnosis of this significant emerging infectious disease.”

Ms. Garcia says they see Chagas condition as a “silent killer:”

“Individuals do not generally feel sick,” she describes, “so they do not seek medical attention, but it eventually ends up resulting in heart disease in around 30% of those who are contaminated.”

Chagas disease could be going unnoticed in People in america due to low attention

The Baylor team indicates Chagas disease is an rising public health issue not only for Texas – where their study was performed – but also for other areas of the US. In accordance to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), kissing bugs are identified across half of the US.

In the US, Chagas disease is regarded one of the ignored parasitic infections, a group of 5 parasitic diseases that the CDC have focused for public health action.

The Baylor team recommends there could be conditions of Chagas in Americans who are contaminated through kissing bug bites that are undiagnosed due to the fact of low understanding of the disease among US health specialists.

The team provided the outcomes of several research to back up their recommendations. One of these, released in the journal Epidemiology and Infection, is an evaluation of routine examining of Texas blood donors from 2008 to 2012. Since 2007, all possible blood donors in the US are tested for subjection to the Chagas disease parasite.

From their research, the Baylor team identified 1 in every 6,500 donors tested positive for the Chagas parasite, which is 50 times more than the CDC’s one in 300,000 approximate of the national infection rate.