Chagas disease is found almost exclusively in Latin America, although increased global travel and migration have led to more cases being reported in North America, Europe, Australia and Japan. Chagas is a parasitic disease transmitted by triatomine bugs, which live in cracks in the walls and roofs of mud and straw housing. It can also be transmitted through blood transfusions or to the foetus during pregnancy, and, less frequently, through organ transplants.
Symptoms are rare in the first, acute stage of the disease and if they do appear they are mild. Then the chronic stage is asymptomatic for years. Ultimately, however, debilitating complications develop in approximately 30 per cent of people infected, shortening life expectancy by an average of 10 years. Heart complications such as heart failure, arrhythmia and cardiomyopathy are the most common cause of death in adults.
Diagnosis is complicated, requiring laboratory analysis of blood samples. There are currently only two medicines available to treat the disease: benznidazole and nifurtimox, which were both developed over 40 years ago.
The cure rate is almost 100 per cent in newborns and infants and in acute cases, but as the gap between the date of infection and the beginning of treatment lengthens, the cure rate declines.
The treatment currently used can be toxic and can take longer than two months to complete. Despite the clear need for more efficient and safer medication, there are few new drugs in development.
- Access to essential medicineApply Access to essential medicine filter (9)
- Access to healthcareApply Access to healthcare filter (1)
- Child healthApply Child health filter (2)
- Maternal healthApply Maternal health filter (1)
- Mental healthApply Mental health filter (1)
- MigrantApply Migrant filter (2)
- Neglected diseasesApply Neglected diseases filter (21)
- Sexual violenceApply Sexual violence filter (1)
- VaccinationApply Vaccination filter (2)
- Water and sanitationApply Water and sanitation filter (1)
- Chagas diseaseApply Chagas disease filter (36)
- Dengue feverApply Dengue fever filter (1)
- HIV / AIDSApply HIV / AIDS filter (1)
- Kala azar (visceral leishmaniasis)Apply Kala azar (visceral leishmaniasis) filter (6)
- LeishmaniasisApply Leishmaniasis filter (6)
- MalariaApply Malaria filter (1)
- MalnutritionApply Malnutrition filter (1)
- Parasitic diseasesApply Parasitic diseases filter (4)
- Sleeping sickness (human African trypanosomiasis)Apply Sleeping sickness (human African trypanosomiasis) filter (7)
- TuberculosisApply Tuberculosis filter (2)
- 2015Apply 2015 filter (2)
- 2014Apply 2014 filter (5)
- 2013Apply 2013 filter (3)
- 2012Apply 2012 filter (3)
- 2011Apply 2011 filter (3)
- 2010Apply 2010 filter (1)
- 2009Apply 2009 filter (3)
- 2005Apply 2005 filter (9)
- 2004Apply 2004 filter (3)
- 2003Apply 2003 filter (1)
- 2002Apply 2002 filter (2)
- 2001Apply 2001 filter (1)