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‘Chagas’ Disease From Latin America Comes To America; Has Infected 300,000 Americans

Despite the current Ebola panic, there is another disease posing a threat to American’s health. Chagas disease, also known as the “kissing bug” disease, has made its way into the United States and has already infected thousands, but health officials and doctors do not view the disease as potentially endemic.

The disease, prevalent in Mexico and Latin America, has begun to spread in the United States with around 300,000 people currently infected per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates, according to Fox News Latino.

ChagasAccording to the CDC, Chagas disease is caused by the Trypanosoma cruzi parasite, which is carried by insects and it is transmitted via their feces. Around 8 million people in Latin America are infected with the disease, which is mostly prevalent in poor rural areas. Triatomine bugs, known as “kissing bugs,” can transmit the disease when they suck on the blood of people and defecate on the wound or near it.

People can also be infected through blood transfusion from an infected person, congenital transmission (from mother to child during pregnancy), organ transplants and consumption of uncooked food contaminated with the parasite.

Early symptoms include fever, body aches, swelling of the eyelids and at the bite site. Following this stage, most people become asymptomatic, but around 30 percent develop heart or intestinal problems.

The [chagas] disease, prevalent in Mexico and Latin America, has begun to spread in the United States with around 300,000 people currently infected per Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates, according to Fox News Latino.

Those without symptoms can still transmit the disease.

According to Click 2 Houston, research conducted by Melissa Garcia at the Baylor College of Medicine on blood donations found that in Texas one out of 6,500 potentially has the disease.

“I think we are likely under-diagnosing and mismanaging a lot of Houstonians and a lot of Texas residents with this disease. So it really is imperative that we start screening people that are at high risk,” she said. “If you don’t get treatment, it can progress and it can be fatal.”

However, Fox News Latino reports the disease is not labeled as endemic, prompting many doctors to not consider it when diagnosing patients.


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Category: American Voice, Establishment News

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