15 March 2007

chagas infection spreading in louisiana

from the cdc (see link) via rense.com

Male Triatoma sanguisuga
cdc photo


Autochthonous transmission of the Chagas disease parasite, Trypanosoma cruzi, was detected in a patient in rural New Orleans, Louisiana.

Chagas disease is endemic in Latin America; 13 million people are infected with the causative agent, the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, and 200,000 new cases are reported annually (1).

Although Chagas disease occurs mostly as heart disease, megasyndrome (enlargement of the visceral organs) is also seen in patients in South America.

Transmission is usually by contamination of a person with parasite-laden feces of a triatomine bug (family Reduviidae, subfamily Triatominae, commonly known as kissing bugs), which deposits feces on the skin while feeding.

The parasite can then enter through the bite wound, mucous membranes, or conjunctiva. Transmission by blood transfusion, organ transplant, and congenital and oral routes can also occur.

In June 2006, a 74-year-old woman residing in a house in rural New Orleans was bothered by a considerable number (>50) of insect bites.

The woman observed many bugs in the house and showed them to a fumigator, who identified them as triatomines.

An internet search showed the potential for transmission of Chagas disease, and the woman sought help from a local health sciences center.

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