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Chagas' disease

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An insect-born disease that is endemic in South-and central America from Mexico to Argentina. It is caused by the protozoa Trypanosoma cruzi and transferred by bedbugs (Triathoma infestans, Panstrongylus megistus, Rhodnius prolixus).

Onset is usually in the first decade, involving one eye or, less frequently, the skin. Usually a small sore develops at the bite where the parasite enters the body. If this is near the eye, the eyelid becomes swollen. Within a few days, fever and swollen lymph nodes may develop. This initial acute phase may cause illness and death, especially in young children. More commonly, patients enter a symptomless phase lasting several months or years, during which time parasites are invading most organs of the body, often causing heart, intestinal and oesophageal damage and progressive weakness. In 32% of those infected, fatal damage to the heart and digestive tract occurs during this chronic phase.

These will be entered later:
Osvaldo Goncales Cruz, Brazilian bacteriologist, 1872-1917.
Salvador Mazza, Argentine physician, 1886-1946.


  • C. Chagas:
    Nova trypanozomiaze humana. Estudos sobre a morfolojia e cíclo evolutivo do Schizotripanum cruzi n. gen. n. sp., ajente etiolòjico de nova entidade morbida do homem.
    Memòrias di Instituto Oswaldo Cruz, Rio de Janeiro, 1909, 1 (2): 159-218.
    Text in Portuguese and German.

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