Read below for travel health advice on diseases and special needs from the MDtravelhealth channel.
Chagas disease is a parasitic infection caused by an organism known as Trypanosoma cruzi. The disease is transmitted by triatomine insects (reduviid bugs), which inhabit crevices in the walls and roofs of substandard housing in South and Central America. The triatomine insect lays its feces on human skin as it bites, usually at night. A person becomes infected when he or she unknowingly rubs the feces into the bite wound or any other open sore. The disease may also be transmitted by blood transfusions or by infected mothers passing it to their babies in the uterus or through breastfeeding, but these are much less common (see Risk for Transfusion-Transmitted Infectious Diseases in Central and South America, Emerging Infectious Diseases Vol. 4/No. 1 January-March 1998).
The acute stage of the disease is seen most often in children. Symptoms may include fever, lymph node swelling, enlargement of the liver or spleen, and fatigue. Swelling around one eye (Romana's sign) may occur if insect feces are rubbed into the eye. Most people who are infected show no initial symptoms. However, ten to twenty years later, about one-third of those infected show evidence of irreversible damage to the heart, esophagus, or large intestine. Cardiac symptoms may include abnormal heart rhythms, heart failure, angina, left ventricular aneurysm, and cardiac arrest. Esophageal involvement may lead to difficulty swallowing and malnutrition. Intestinal involvement may cause constipation and abdominal distention.
Most travelers are at extremely low risk for Chagas disease. However, those sleeping in poorly constructed houses, especially those made of mud, adobe, or thatch, may become infected and should use bed nets and insecticides to prevent transmission. There is no vaccine for Chagas disease. Early infections may be treated with nifurtimox or benznidazole, but there is no effective antibiotic for late-stage disease at this time.
From the Centers for Disease Control (CDC)
American Trypanosomiasis (life cycle, geographic distribution, clinical features, diagnosis, treatment)
From the Pan American Health Organization
Do you have any comments on this resource page? We want to tell the Red Planetter community about this condition or advice.
You don't need an account or have to sign up or anything!
Is there anything missing that you know about? Or can you offer any insightful tips from your experience?
If you are not logged in, or choose to make the drop box anonymously you can tell the community honestly what you seen without any concern. Please send images or other evidence to support your claims.
The MDtravelhealth channel is a source of travel health information for travellers, written by medical professionals.
The MDtravelhealth channel relies on medical professionals from all over the world to maintain the Travel Health Information on these pages.
Topic Tags are what bind the Red Planet Travel site together, and are very important.
This place has been tagged:
Before you apply read about the Medical Professionals Roles on Red Planet TravelYou need to be logged in and have applied to MDth channel to contribute to this page.
We are looking to grow the information on this site, if you have something to contribute to any page then we'd like to hear from you.
What's more you can now earn money (paid direct via Paypal) for writing descriptions about places you know.
You will need to tell other members about yourself and your relevant knowledge and experience about what you want to contribute about.
Look below for some example page types, and types of people whose views on a place might be useful to know.
Page Type: Hotel
Tell us your job, knowledge, experience..
My Experience: Doctor
If you are the owner/manager of any place, then you can, of course, take control of your page and add relevant information other visitors might want to know