The Chagas disease is an illness caused by Trypanosoma cruzi, a parasite transmitted by bed bugs (Hemiptera Cimicidae, Triatominae sub-family) that feed on blood and colonize mainly rural and sub-urban areas in Latin America, although over the past decades they have been found more frequently in the United States, Canada, Spain and some countries of the Western Pacific. This is due, largely, to population migration between Latin America and the rest of the world.
How is it transmitted?
The Chagas parasite is transmitted to humans mainly through bed bug feces, blood transfusions or organ grafts coming from an infected individual; through intake of contaminated foods or beverages; or through an infected mother to her child during pregnancy or delivery.
“We must rescue Chagas disease from oblivion”
– Silvia Gold
What symptoms are present?
Many years can go by before symptoms appear; they are mainly heart or digestive symptoms. The most common causes of death are cardiovascular events and, on some occasions, sudden death.