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Chagas disease

  • 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