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CHAGAS DISEASE

Chagas Disease is an infection caused by a parasite called, “Trypanosoma cruzi”. It can transmit to animals and human by an insect vector or “kissing bug”. If you are bitten by a kissing bug it results in infection and inflammation of the tissues.

Kissing Bugs also known as cone-nose bugs or chinches. It is a parasite that causes Chagas disease. It feeds on blood at night. They’re called as kissing bugs because they bite around human eyes or mouth.

Carlos Chagas is a Brazilian Physician was the first who discovered this disease in 1909. The T. cruzi infection is referred to American Trypanosomiasis. This disease mostly occurs in America. Typically in rural areas where people experiencing poverty.

RISK FACTORS

The infection of this disease comes through contact with the stool of a kissing bug. The infection may also occur from the following:

  • Blood Transfusion
  • Organ transplant
  • From mother-to-baby
  • Laboratory Injury
  • Contaminated food
  • Living in an impoverished areas
  • Living in an area where kissing bugs found

SIGNS AND SYMPTOMS

The symptoms that a person can get in acute phase are:

  • Redness at the skin infection
  • Rashes in the skin
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Having Fever
  • Body Aches and Headaches
  • Fatigue
  • Vomiting and having a diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Abdominal Pain
  • Enlargement of the spleen
  • Muscle pain

Chronic condition occurs in the heart and gastrointestinal tract. The following are the symptoms that a person can get depending on the organs most affected:

  • Irregular heart beating
  • Heart Palpitation
  • Fainting
  • Heart failure
  • Emphysema
  • Chronic Abdominal pain
  • Trouble in swallowing
  • Dilated Colon
  • Chronic Constipation

The parasite can cause damage to the nerve cells of the affected tissue.

DIAGNOSIS

Your doctor will conduct a physical test to know if you’re infected by the disease. You’ll undergo a blood test. If you’re infected, an additional test will follow such as:

  • Electrocardiogram
  • Chest X-RAY
  • Abdominal X-RAY
  • Upper Endoscopy

TREATMENT

Treatment for this disease is essential to kill the parasite in the tissues. Medication available for Chagas disease includes:

For heart-related Complication: this includes devices to regulate the heart rhythm, surgery, and heart transplant.

For digestive-related Complication: includes medication, diet, and surgery.

PREVENTION AND CONTROL

The following are the preventive measure and control for Chagas disease:

  • Spraying insecticide inside the house
  • Use insect repellent
  • Avoid sleeping in an adobe house
  • Do not come into the area where kissing bugs live
  • Prevent transmission of blood and organ transplant

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