Chagas Disease

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Twisha Patel, Chagas Disease Introduction Approximately as many as 8 million people that live in Central America, Mexico, South America are diagnosed with Chagas disease. Many of these people don’t realize that they are infected with it. (Parasites - American Trypanosomiasis CDC, 2013). It is also known as American trypanosomiasis and the causative agent is T. cruzi which is also known as the kissing bug. (Robert W. Bauman, 2007, p. 662). This infection is named after a Carlos Chagas, a Brazilian physician who discovered the disease back in 1909. According to the CDC, Chagas disease is one of the most overlooked parasitic infections. The causative agent for this disease is the parasite named Trypanosoma cruzi. Chagas disease includes two…show more content…
The main way people get this disease is through “vectorborne transmission.” Triatomine bugs are the insect vectors of the disease. These bugs become infected when they bite another infected person or animal. Once they are infected, the bugs transfer the T. cruzi parasites in their feces. These bugs can be located in places constructed of materials such as palm thatch, straw, adobe, and mud. During the day, the bugs hide in gaps and corners in the walls and roofs. During the night, when the hosts are sleeping, the bugs become visible. Because they tend to feed on people's faces, this is where the name “kissing bug” derived from. After they bite and consume blood, they excrete feces on the person. If there are breaks in the skin or if the T. cruzi parasites from the bugs feces enter the body through mucous membranes the person can become infected. The unconscious, sleeping person could accidentally scratch or rub the feces into the bite wound, mouth, or eyes. Other ways people can become infected are through congenital transmission, blood transfusion, organ transplantation, consumption of uncooked food contaminated with feces from infected bugs and lastly accidental laboratory exposure. Populations that are at high risk of acquiring Chagas disease are people who live in rural areas part of Mexico, South America and Central America. According to the CDC, it is estimated that more than 300,000 people in the United

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