More than 10,000 people die in the area each year from the complications caused by the disease, compared with about 45,000 in the 1990s.
Seven out of ten people with Chagas disease in America are unaware that they suffer from this potentially deadly parasitic disease, the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) reported on Wednesday (13).
“It is estimated that 70% of those affected do not know,” PAHO says in a statement in which it ensures the disease affects 6-8 million people in Mexico, Central and South America.
Chagas is a disease caused by the microorganism Trypanosoma cruzi, which infects humans during insects (known as barbeiros), blood transfusions or transplants, the consumption of contaminated food, and pregnancy and childbirth.
It is estimated that in the long term, up to 30% of chronic patients may develop complications that may have irreversible and chronic consequences for the gastrointestinal tract and heart.
But “when detected at the time and in the early stages, the disease can improve or enhance its clinical development,” and “in the chronic phase, treatment can stop or delay its progression,” PAHO says.
The disease is endemic in 21 countries in America, where about 70 million people live at risk of getting it. More than 10,000 people die in the area each year from the complications caused by the disease, compared with about 45,000 in the 1990s.
The efforts of American countries “showed that it is possible to end Chagas,” but “there is a need to redouble efforts to prevent, detect, treat and break the chain of infection,” Marcos Espinal said in a statement. , PAHO Director of Infectious Diseases, on the eve of World Chagas Disease Day, April 14th.
2-8% of pregnant women with Chagas’ disease can pass it on to the fetus. In fact, it is the main route of infection and spread in countries that have curbed other types of infection, improved their housing standards, and introduced universal screening in blood banks, according to PAHO.
Chagas disease spread from rural to urban areas and crossed Latin American borders with the migration of people to countries unaware of the disease.