Chagas disease


  • Also known as American Trypanosomiasis
  • Endemic in rural parts of Cental and South America
    • Rare cases found in Southern United States
  • Caused by the parasite trypanosoma cruzi
    • Vector: Reduviid (kissing bug)
    • The parasite is transmitted in the feces of the host vector
      • When the vector bites, it also defecates and the parasites enter the blood stream through the bite wound


  • Disease of poverty
    • Spread by the Triatominae bug (also known as the kissing bug)
      • The Triatomina bug thrives in housing that is old, has thatched roofs and dwellings where the roof does not abut the wall.
  • Other methods of transmission
    • Vertical (mother to child)
    • Transfusion/organ donation

Clinical Features

Acute phase

  • Romañas sign
    • swelling of the eye thought to be secondary to rubbing the feces into the eye
  • Chagoma
    • Localized swelling at the area of parasite entry
  • Non-specific signs and symptoms
  • Serious complications

Chronic phase


  • ECG
  • LFTs
  • Blood smear
    • Can visualize parasites
    • PCR, ELISA, immunofluorescence


See Also


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