Thursday, October 23, 2014

Table of Contents

Definition

Chagas disease is an illness spread by insects. It is common in South and Central America.


Alternative Names

American trypanosomiasis


Causes, incidence, and risk factors

Chagas disease is caused by Trypanosoma cruzi, a parasite related to the African trypanosome that causes sleeping sickness. It is spread by reduvid bugs and is one of the major health problems in South America. Due to immigration, the disease also affects people in the United States.

Risk factors for Chagas disease include:

  • Living in a hut where reduvid bugs live in the walls
  • Living in Central or South America
  • Poverty
  • Receiving a blood transfusion from a person who carries the parasite but does not have active Chagas disease


Review Date: 09/15/2010
Reviewed By: David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc., and Jatin M. Vyas, MD, PhD, Assistant Professor in Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Assistant in Medicine, Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital.

A.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org)