Every year World Chagas Disease Day is marked on the 14th of April to create awareness about Chagas disease. This year’s theme for World Chagas Disease Day 2023 is- Time to integrate Chagas disease into primary health care. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Chagas disease, also called silent and silenced disease, infects approximately 6-7 million people globally, leading to 10,000 deaths yearly.
To raise awareness this World Chagas Day Disease 2023, let’s learn more about Chagas disease, its symptoms, transmission, and prevention.
What is Chagas Disease?
Chagas Disease, which is otherwise also referred to as American trypanosomiasis, is an infectious respiratory disease caused by a parasitic organism commonly found in tropical regions. Trypanosoma cruzi is a type of parasite that is responsible for causing Chagas disease.
Transmission of Chagas disease
The parasite that is responsible for causing Chagas disease is Trypanosoma cruzi, which is a type of protozoan. Transmission of Chagas disease to humans occurs through the feces of blood-sucking triatomine bugs infected by T.cruzi. These triatomine bugs causing Chagas disease transmission are otherwise also known as kissing bugs. Chagas disease is transmitted to humans when the infected kissing bug bites the person.
Transmission of Chagas disease may also occur through the following forms,
- From an infected mother to the baby during pregnancy or at the time of delivery
- Transfusion of infected blood
- Sharing needles with a person infected by Chagas disease
- The T.cruzi parasite may also be transmitted to humans if they consume food or drink contaminated by the insect, its urine, or feces
What are the symptoms and Complications of Chagas disease?
Chagas disease can cause an acute sickness that is quick and short-lived or a chronic illness that lasts for a long time. Although symptoms might range in severity from moderate to severe, frequently, people don’t show any Chagas disease symptoms until they’ve progressed to the chronic stage.
The acute (sudden) phase symptoms of Chagas disease
The symptoms of Chagas disease that occur during the acute phase may last for a few weeks or months and usually resolves and goes away on their own. However, in certain instances, if the symptoms of Chagas disease are left untreated, then they may become chronic. The various acute phase symptoms of Chagas disease include the following,
- Rashes and body ache
- Swelling at the site of infection
- Spleen or liver enlargement
- Muscle pain
- Pain in the abdomen
- Swollen eyelids
- Swollen glands
- Nausea and vomiting
The Chronic phase (long-term) symptoms of Chagas disease
Chagas disease symptoms may not appear for many years or even decades after the original infection. In the chronic stage of the illness, symptoms may not occur at all, or they may show up 10 to 20 years after the original infection. In more severe cases, symptoms of Chagas disease may include the following,
- Heart palpitations
- Trouble in passing bowel movements
- Trouble eating
- Cardiac arrest that may occur suddenly
- Heart failure
- Constipation or stomach pain due to colon enlargement
- Sudden death
The various complications of Chagas disease that may arise in an infected person may include the following,
- Colon enlargement (megacolon)
- Esophagus enlargement (megaesophagus)
- Dilated cardiomyopathy
- Cardiac arrest
How to prevent getting Chagas disease?
To prevent Chagas disease, it is essential to follow these preventive tips, especially if you live in an area where the risk of Chagas disease transmission is high. The various preventive measures for Chagas disease include the following,
- Apply insecticide spray all around the house and building
- Ensure that the food you eat is thoroughly washed and cooked properly
- Clean and sanitize your house regularly
- Utilize nets around sleeping areas to prevent insects from coming close to your face
- Use insect-repellent creams on the body
Since Chagas disease is most commonly seen affecting people in South America and Central America, not many people are aware of it. Hence this World Chagas Disease Day 2023, it is essential to spread awareness about Chagas disease, its symptoms, mode of transmission, and prevention methods.
Ayu Health is a leading healthcare provider offering comprehensive and affordable care for all parasitic infections. With a team of highly skilled and experienced doctors and medical professionals, our hospitals are dedicated to providing the best possible care to all our patients. Our hospitals have state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, as well as a team of experts who are dedicated to providing personalized care to each patient.