Chagas disease

Below you will find more information about Chagas disease from Medigest. If you believe that you are suffering from any of the symptoms of Chagas disease it is important that you obtain an accurate diagnosis from a medical professional to ensure that you obtain the correct medication or treatment for your condition. There are medical conditions that carry similar symptoms associated with Chagas disease and therefore the information provided by Medigest is offered as a guideline only and should never be used in preference to seeking professional medical advice. The information relating to Chagas disease comes from a third party source and Medigest will not be held liable for any inaccuracies relating to the information shown.

Definition

Chagas disease is a form of tropical parasitic disease, affecting persons in the Americas but most commonly in South America. The infectious agent in the disease is the Trypanosoma cruzi, which latch on to humans through the assassin bugs of the Triatominae. The disease is transmitted to humans through contamination in food, blood transfusion, and fetal transmission.

Diagnosis

A clinical diagnosis can help determine the condition. A causal agent is examined through many clinical and laboratory procedures, such as microscopic examinations, agent isolation, immunodiagnostic tests, and molecular biology.

Treatment

Once the diagnosis is confirmed, treatment can be given to those who are in the acute stages of disease. Typical medications include nitroderivatives; however, these substances are toxic and can produce many harmful side effects. They cannot be taken without medical supervision, and a resistance to the medicines has been reported in many cases. For those who have reached the chronic stage of the Chagas disease, treatment becomes more drastic such as surgery and the use of heart pacemakers.

Symptoms and Signs

The symptoms of Chagas disease depend on the stage of infection. Early stages produce mild symptoms that are usually just swelling in the location of the infection. The infection can stay in the body for as long as 20 years, and over the course of the prolonged infection, more serious and chronic symptoms begin to take place. These include a malformation of the intestines and heart disease. If left untreated, the disease may prove deadly.

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