Chagas disease (also known as American trypanosomiasis)


Chagas disorder, also identified as American trypanosomiasis, is a potentially life-threatening illness brought on by the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. About 6­–7 million individuals globally are approximated to be contaminated with T. cruzi. The condition is identified primarily in endemic places of 21 continental Latin American countries (1), wherever it has been largely transmitted to human beings and other mammals by get hold of with faeces or urine of triatomine bugs (vector-borne), known as kissing bugs, among the numerous other preferred names, relying on the geographical space.

Chagas disorder is named soon after Carlos Ribeiro Justiniano Chagas, a Brazilian doctor and researcher who identified the disease in 1909. 


Chagas sickness was when totally confined to continental rural regions of the Area of the Americas (excluding the Caribbean islands). Owing to enhanced population mobility more than earlier decades, most infected folks now dwell in urban configurations and the infection has been ever more detected in the United States of The united states, Canada, and several European and some African, Eastern Mediterranean and Western Pacific nations around the world.


In Latin America, T. cruzi parasites are primarily transmitted by call with faeces/urine of contaminated blood-sucking triatomine bugs. These bugs typically reside in the wall or roof cracks of households and peridomiciliary buildings, these as rooster coops, pens and warehouses, in rural or suburban locations. Typically they conceal during the working day and grow to be energetic at evening when they feed on animal blood, which include human blood. They ordinarily chunk an uncovered space of pores and skin these types of as the deal with (that’s why its popular name, kissing bug), and the bug defecates or urinates near to the chunk. The parasites enter the entire body when the particular person instinctively smears the bug’s faeces or urine into the bite, other pores and skin breaks, the eyes or the mouth.

T. cruzi can also be transmitted by:

  • intake of food stuff or drinks contaminated with T. cruzi through, for instance, get hold of with faeces or urine of infected triatomine bugs or popular opossums. This form of transmission generally triggers outbreaks with a lot more serious circumstance and mortality
  • passage from an contaminated mother to her new child throughout pregnancy or childbirth
  • blood or blood item transfusion from infected donors
  • some organ transplants employing organs from contaminated donors and
  • laboratory mishaps.

Symptoms and indications

Chagas condition provides in 2 phases. The first acute phase lasts for about 2 months immediately after an infection. In the course of the acute section, a high selection of parasites flow into in the blood, but in most cases signs or symptoms are absent or gentle and unspecific. In much less than 50{fc1509ea675b3874d16a3203a98b9a1bd8da61315181db431b4a7ea1394b614e} of persons bitten by a triatomine bug, attribute initially noticeable signals can be a skin lesion or a purplish swelling of the lids of 1 eye. Moreover, they can existing fever, headache, enlarged lymph glands, pallor, muscle mass discomfort, issue in breathing, swelling, and abdominal or chest soreness.

Throughout the long-term stage, the parasites are hidden predominantly in the coronary heart and digestive muscular tissues. One particular to 3 decades later on, up to a 3rd of clients go through from cardiac disorders and up to 1 in 10 endure from digestive (generally enlargement of the oesophagus or colon), neurological or mixed alterations. In later several years the infection in those individuals can bring about the destruction of the anxious system and heart muscle, consequent cardiac arrhythmias or progressive heart failure and sudden loss of life.


To eliminate the parasite, Chagas sickness can be taken care of with benznidazole or nifurtimox. Both equally medicines are totally productive in curing the condition if offered soon following infection at the onset of the acute stage, such as the cases of congenital transmission. The efficacy of both diminishes, nonetheless, the lengthier a person has been contaminated and the adverse reactions are far more repeated at more mature age. Treatment method is also indicated for those in whom an infection has been reactivated (for illustration, owing to immunosuppression), and for individuals throughout the early long-term phase, together with girls and women of childbearing age (prior to or soon after being pregnant) to stop congenital transmission.

Infected grown ups, in particular all those with no signs, must be presented cure because antiparasitic procedure can also avoid or control disease development. In other scenarios, the likely rewards of medicine in stopping or delaying the growth of Chagas disease need to be weighed towards the length of treatment method (up to 2 months) and achievable adverse reactions (taking place in up to 40{fc1509ea675b3874d16a3203a98b9a1bd8da61315181db431b4a7ea1394b614e} of addressed adult patients). Benznidazole and nifurtimox ought to not be taken by expecting females or by men and women with kidney or liver failure. Nifurtimox is also contraindicated for individuals with a track record of neurological or psychiatric problems. Moreover, unique procedure for cardiac, or digestive or neurological manifestations, may be essential.

Command and avoidance

The big reservoir of T. cruzi parasites in wild animals of the Americas suggests that the infection cannot be eradicated. Instead, the handle targets are elimination of the transmission to humans and early wellness-treatment accessibility of the infected people.

There is no vaccine to prevent Chagas disease. T. cruzi can infect numerous species of triatomine bugs, the bulk of which are found in the Americas. Vector manage has been the most successful system of prevention in Latin The us. Blood screening is essential to protect against infection by means of transfusion and organ transplantation and to increase detection and care of the influenced population all more than the entire world.

Dependent on the geographical space, WHO recommends the subsequent approaches to avoidance and management:

  • spraying of dwellings and surrounding spots with residual insecticides
  • house improvements and residence cleanliness to stop vector infestation
  • particular preventive measures this sort of as bednets, fantastic cleanliness methods in foods planning, transportation, storage and consumption
  • enhancement of contextualized information and facts, education and learning and communication things to do for diverse actors and eventualities about preventative steps and surveillance equipment (1 wellbeing strategy)
  • screening of blood donors
  • screening of organ, tissue or cell donors and receivers
  • entry to prognosis and cure of individuals with health-related indicator or advice to do antiparasitic therapy, in particular kids and women of all ages of youngster-bearing age in advance of being pregnant and
  • screening of newborns and other children of contaminated mothers with no previous antiparasitic remedy to do early prognosis and deliver procedure.

The clinical treatment charge of people with serious cardiac, digestive, neurologic or mixed varieties of the sickness has been calculated to be >80{fc1509ea675b3874d16a3203a98b9a1bd8da61315181db431b4a7ea1394b614e} larger than the price of spraying residual insecticide to regulate vectors and avoid infection.

Very first level of treatment (Key wellness treatment), with its diverse health industry experts, and in interaction of other health amounts, has a crucial job in raising present detection, treatment method, comply with up and notification. 

Evaluation of the available diagnostics (including fast serologic or chemiluminescence assessments, molecular biology assessments) and most price-productive algorithms, for every territory, is fundamental to enhance situation detection.  

Marketing of biomedical, psychosocial and environmental reports of the determinants and threat components of Chagas illness is primary to propose more effective multidimensional strategies to stop and handle de illness.   

Countrywide info systems to watch the selection of acute and chronic cases and the energetic transmission routes are important. So much, 6 out of the 44 nations with disease instances have applied it.

WHO reaction

Due to the fact the 1990s there have been profitable intergovernmental initiatives in parasite and vector manage in the Americas, top to a considerable reduction in transmission and increased obtain to analysis and antiparasitic treatment method. The hazard of transmission by blood/blood products and solutions transfusion diminished sharply through the common screening in all blood banks of the continental Latin American countries, and progressively in other nations around the world and continents.  

WHO regarded Chagas disease as a neglected tropical disease (NTD) in 2005. This facilitated a higher recognition as a public health dilemma on the international scene. It also facilitated the battle from misinformation, the deficiency of social demand and the weak political commitment to deal with the causes and challenges brought about by the ailment, as effectively as inadequate scientific research and growth similar with prevention, detection and thorough treatment, together with early prognosis, detailed treatment, psychosocial adhere to up, facts, training and communication tools. In May well 2019, subsequent a selection by the 72 World Wellbeing Assembly, the Entire world Chagas Condition Working day was founded to be celebrated on 14 April (the day in 1909 when Carlos Chagas diagnosed the first human circumstance of the condition, a 2-12 months-old girl named Berenice). 

The NTD highway map includes 5 Chagas ailment aims:

  1. verification of the interruption of vectorial domiciliary transmission
  2. verification of interruption of transfusion transmission
  3. verification of the interruption of transmission by organ transplants
  4. elimination of congenital Chagas condition
  5. 75{fc1509ea675b3874d16a3203a98b9a1bd8da61315181db431b4a7ea1394b614e} protection of antiparasitic treatment of the eligible inhabitants.

To achieve the purpose of elimination of Chagas disorder transmission and deliver health and fitness treatment for infected or individuals struggling from the ailment both equally in endemic and non-endemic territories, WHO aims to boost networking at the world-wide amount and fortify regional and countrywide capacities.



1Argentina, Belize, Bolivia (Plurinational Condition of), Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, and Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of).