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Who Is At Risk Of Chagas Disease

By Alba Charles . Updated: January 16, 2017
Who Is At Risk Of Chagas Disease
Image: en.wikipedia.org

Chagas disease is an inflammatory infection caused by the parasite Typanosoma cruzi and it is spread by the blood-sucking insect called triatomine bug. The most common infection of Chagas disease is caused by the contact with the triatomine bug, commonly found in the rural parts of Mexico, Central America and South America. Although the disease is more common on these countries, people in the United States can also be at risk of catching it.

Triatomine bugs can become infected by Typanosoma cruzi after ingesting blood from an animal infected with the parasite. The infection can then be transmitted to humans through the bug's feces. Triatomine bugs can leave contaminated feces on people's skin. Parasites then enter the body through the eyes, mouth or open wounds. But this is not the only source of infection, in this OneHowTo article we tell you who is at risk of Chagas disease.

How is Chagas disease contracted?

The bite of the triatomine bug is not the only source of infection for Chagas disease. It can also be contracted mother to baby (congenital), through transfusions of contaminated blood or through organs transplanted from infected donors.

Who is at risk of contracting Chagas disease?

Chagas disease is spread throughout Mexico, Central America and South America mainly. It is estimated that around 8 million people are infected in these areas. The triatomine bug is commonly found in rural areas with poor living conditions. People that live on those rural areas are at most risk of contracting the disease, given that the bug thrives in mud walls, thatched roofs and generaly poor housing conditions. Although the majority of the people infected contract the disease in the endemic countries, blood transfussions and organ transplants from an infected person are a source of infection.

The disease is spreading in the United States as well, where around 300,000 people are infected with it. The majority of the infected come from rural areas of South America, but there are some reports of infection originated directly in the United States.

Who Is At Risk Of Chagas Disease - Who is at risk of contracting Chagas disease?

Does travelling to the endemic countries suppose a risk of infection?

It is rare for travellers to contract Chagas disease while visiting Mexico or other countries in South America and Central America. Travellers and tourists usually tend to stay in well-constructed houses with better living standards, such as hotels and other types of accommodation.

The risk for contracting the disease for travellers is low, however, it gets higher if you're visiting or living in rural areas and sleeping in poorly-constructed houses or outdoors.

Who Is At Risk Of Chagas Disease - Does travelling to the endemic countries suppose a risk of infection?

How to prevent Chagas disease

If you live in a high-risk area or are going to visit one in the future, you need to follow these steps to prevent the infection.

  • Avoid sleeping in a house with mud-walls
  • Put a net on your bed soaked with insecticide
  • Use insect repellent on your skin
Who Is At Risk Of Chagas Disease - How to prevent Chagas disease

This article is merely informative, at OneHowTo.com we do not have the authority to prescribe any kind of medical treatment or making any kind of diagnosis. We invite you to visit a doctor if you have any type of condition or discomfort.

If you'd like to read similar articles to who is at risk of Chagas disease, we recommend you to try our Diseases and secondary effects category.

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to Who Is At Risk Of Chagas Disease, we recommend you visit our Diseases & secondary effects category.

Tips
  • Visit your doctor six weeks before you travel, he or she will provide you more information on how to protect yourself from triatomine bug bites.
  • Avoid blood transfusions and organ transplants in areas where Chagas disease is common, unless it is an emergency.

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