Chagas disease : neglected parasitic infections in the United States
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Chagas disease : neglected parasitic infections in the United States

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      Chagas disease is a preventable infection caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi and spread by infected insects called triatomine bugs, also known as “kissing bugs.” The initial infection usually does not cause severe symptoms and is often not even diagnosed. After years of chronic infection, some people develop heart diseases such as abnormal heart rhythms, heart failure, and an increased risk of sudden death. Chagas disease can also cause gastrointestinal problems, such as severe constipation and difficulty swallowing.

      Infection is typically spread by contact with the triatomine bug, most commonly found in rural parts of Mexico, Central America, or South America. However, the disease can also be transmitted from mother to baby (congenital transmission), through organ transplants, or through blood transfusion. Chagas disease is one of several parasitic diseases that results in significant illness among those who are infected and is often poorly understood by healthcare providers.

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