The Tropical Disease with AIDS like symptoms known in South America as Chagas, has been making its presence felt throughout the America’s.
Chagas disease is spread by insects, and people living in these warm climates who contract the disease, then immigrate and bring with them the disease. The disease currently kills around 20,000 people per year.
According to the Neglected Tropical Disease’s (NTD) website: “Chagas disease (American trypanosomiasis) is a vector-borne disease and a leading cause of the deaths and disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) lost that result from NTDs in the LAC region . With approximately 10 million people living with Chagas disease, this condition is one of the most common NTDs affecting the bottom 100 million in the region, a prevalence exceeded only by hookworm and other soil-transmitted helminth infections , .”
The Journal also went on to say that ”There are a number of striking similarities between people living with Chagas disease and people living with HIV/AIDS,” the authors wrote, “particularly for those with HIV/AIDS who contracted the disease in the first two decades of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.”
There are two phases of Chagas Acute, and Chronic:
The National Library of Medicine has said that Acute Symptoms of Chagas include:
- General ill feeling
- Swelling of one eye
- Swollen red area at site of insect bite
After the acute phase, the disease goes into remission. No other symptoms may appear for many years. When symptoms finally develop, they include:
- Digestive problems
- Pain in the abdomen
Transmission of the Chagas disease can come in several different ways:
- Insect to mammal transmission from Mesquites
- Blood transfusion
- Organ transplant
- Consumption of food from contaminated Parasites.
Treatment for Chagas:
The Mayo Clinic says that “During the acute phase of Chagas disease, the prescription medications benznidazole and nifurtimox may be of benefit. Both drugs are available in the regions most affected by Chagas disease. In the United States, however, the drugs can be obtained only through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention”.
The Medicines used to treat Chagas are very toxic and can cause severe digestive, and heart related complications. Once the disease has reached the Chronic phase the medicines are no longer effective.