Chagas - a new household word in the US?

  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 31, 2012 8:05 PM GMT
    Chagas disease. (SHA-gus) Some compare it to AIDS. It's spread mainly by blood-sucking insects, but can also be spread by other means, such as blood transfusions.

    It used to be a disease of Latin and South America, where millions of people have it.

    Now there are reportedly over 300,000 cases in the United States.

    Most Chagas cases in the United States are reportedly among illegal aliens.

    Are there medical and policy implications?

    Treatment: 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.

    Once Chagas disease reaches the chronic phase, medications aren't effective for curing the disease. Instead, treatment depends on the specific signs and symptoms:

    Main method of infection: a bite from an insect known as the triatomine bug. These bugs can become infected by T. cruzi when they ingest blood from an animal already infected with the parasite. Triatomine bugs live primarily in mud, thatch or adobe huts in Mexico, South America and Central America. They hide in crevices in the walls or roof during the day, then come out at night — often feeding on sleeping humans.

    Symptoms at advanced stage: Irregular heartbeat, Inflamed, enlarged heart (cardiomyopathy) Congestive heart failure, Sudden cardiac arrest Difficulty swallowing due to enlarged esophagus Abdominal pain or constipation due to enlarged colon

    Other Methods of Infection: Eating uncooked food contaminated with feces from T. cruzi-infected bugs. Being born to a woman infected with T. cruzi. Having a blood transfusion containing infected blood. Getting an organ transplant containing viable T. cruzi. Working in a laboratory where there's an accidental exposure to the parasite. Spending time in a forest that contains infected wild animals, such as raccoons and opossums. Being with an infected pet.


    http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/chagas-disease/DS00956

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  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    May 31, 2012 8:20 PM GMT
    jockfever saidChagas disease. (SHA-gus) Some compare it to AIDS. It's spread mainly by blood-sucking insects,
    Well, stay away from politicians and you should be fine. icon_wink.gif

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  • conservativej...

    Posts: 2465

    May 31, 2012 9:11 PM GMT
    I initially thought this related to mobile DNA, some form of retrovirus. I have since learned it is truly a parasite.

    Interesting. Long lived and difficult to treat.
  • Posted by a hidden member.
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    Jun 03, 2012 4:19 PM GMT
    jockfever: Chagas disease...It's spread mainly by blood-sucking insects...

    paulflexes: Well, stay away from politicians and you should be fine.


    jockfever: Good one. I'd like to get them out of my life, but they keep telling me what kind of light bulb I can buy, regulating my toilet, putting ethanol in my gas, and spending like bloated parasites.

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