Chagas Disease - Mechanism Of Development And Ways Of Infection

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Chagas Disease - Mechanism Of Development And Ways Of Infection
Chagas Disease - Mechanism Of Development And Ways Of Infection
Video: Chagas Disease - Mechanism Of Development And Ways Of Infection
Video: Chagas Disease - An overview 2023, February

What is the danger of Chagas disease, complications and treatment methods


  • 1 Development mechanism
  • 2 Ways of infection
  • 3 Symptoms

    • 3.1 Acute form
    • 3.2 Chronic form
  • 4 Diagnostics
  • 5 Treatment methods
  • 6 Complications
  • 7 Prevention

Chagas disease, or American trypanosomiasis, is an infectious disease caused by unicellular parasites of the Trypanosome cruz species. They pose a huge danger to humans, and can easily be fatal. Previously, this disease was found exclusively in Central and South America, but now cases of infection are found in the USA, Canada, and a number of European countries.

According to the statistics of the World Health Organization, about 8 million people worldwide suffer from American trypanosomiasis. The disease is difficult to treat, success in therapy appears only if it was started exclusively in the initial stages.


Development mechanism

Chagas disease is an infectious disease that develops against the background of infection of the body with pathogenic parasites. Various insects can carry pathogenic pathogens: flies, mosquitoes, bedbugs. In the course of their vital activity, they leave feces that contain infected microparticles.

The most common vector for Chagas disease is the kissing bug. Because of his prolonged kisses, small wounds remain on the skin of a person, through which pathogenic microorganisms penetrate into the human blood, causing serious changes in the internal organs of a person.

They can be recognized by increasing arrhythmias, heart failure, gastrointestinal disorders. The sooner you react to the deviations that have occurred, the higher the likelihood of maintaining the normal functioning of the body.


People living in endemic areas should be the most careful about their health. In the vast majority of cases, the infection affects people who live in poor areas with insufficient sanitation. They are usually home to a large number of insects that can carry infection.

Also, animals can be infected, which are also carriers and easily infect humans. In rare cases, it is possible to catch an infection through transfusion of blood or blood components, as well as through organ transplantation. Even less often, infection occurs through the placenta from mother to child or using non-sterile laboratory instruments.

Infection routes

The parasite itself that causes Chagas disease is found in the faeces of a bug or other insect, not in their proboscis. The peculiarity is that the insect bite does not do any harm to the body. However, if he leaves his calculi near the wound, they fall into the wound cavity. Because of this, swelling, redness occurs.

Due to constant scratching, a person only aggravates his health.

At the moment, doctors identify the following most common ways of transmission of infection:

  1. Eating vegetables, fruits and other food products that have not been cleared of the feces of the kissing bug;

  2. Blood transfusion from an infected person;
  3. Transmission of the disease from a sick mother through the placenta. Usually, in this case, the child is born with serious abnormalities, such as anemia, hepatosplenomegaly, jaundice. Statistics show that 80% of cases, such children will soon die;
  4. Surgical way - in some cases healthy people get this infection after donor organ transplant;
  5. Laboratory route - an employee of a research center can easily pick up an infection through contact with contaminated material;
  6. Contact with wild animals - many organisms that live in areas where the bug is active can be carriers of trypanosomiasis. The infection can be easily transmitted through human contact;
  7. Contact with livestock - they may contain particles of feces from an infected bug, which can get on your mucous membranes or wounds. In this case, infection occurs immediately.


At a higher risk of contracting this infection are those who go on business trips to endemic areas. They are not immune to their surroundings.

You can also get infected if tourists go to local hospitals for blood transfusions. It is very dangerous to be in dilapidated clay rooms located in rural areas - they are very popular among bedbugs.


The main goal of treatment is to suppress pathogenic microorganisms in the acute stage of infection. It is also necessary to take measures to get rid of the manifestations of this pathology. Keep in mind that Chagas disease can easily lead to long-term discomfort, and in some cases, it spills over into a chronic form.

Depending on the immune capabilities of the body, a person can experience both mild and severe manifestations of the disease. The earlier you start treatment, the higher the risk of preventing the development of the chronic form of this pathology.

Acute form

The acute form of the disease lasts from several weeks to six months. In some cases, this pathology may not manifest itself with any symptoms for a long time, or the symptoms may be so weak that a person will not pay any attention to them at all. Over time, fatigue and some discomfort grows.

Chagas disease can be diagnosed by the following criteria:

  • Puffiness;
  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Constant headaches;
  • Prolonged migraines;
  • Swelling of the eyelids and heaviness in the eye;
  • Decreased appetite;
  • Fever;
  • Tumors of the lymph nodes;
  • Inflammation of the spleen and liver;
  • Painful sensations in muscles and joints;
  • The appearance of a rash on the skin.

Symptoms only manifest clearly during the acute phase. There is evidence that they can disappear for a while without treatment.

The lack of adequate therapy leads to the formation of a chronic form of pathology.

Chronic form

It is possible to determine the chronic phase by the following criteria:

  1. An enlarged colon, which is expressed in frequent constipation;
  2. Soreness in the abdomen or an enlarged esophagus;
  3. Fuzzy heartbeat;
  4. Soreness in the heart due to increasing failure;
  5. Difficulty swallowing food
  6. Pain when swallowing.


If you experience such symptoms, you should immediately consult a doctor. This is especially important for people who have visited endemic areas in the past 6 months. When such signs appear, you must immediately isolate yourself from others in order to stop the infection.

Take all tests immediately to make an accurate diagnosis. It is especially urgent to see a doctor if your body temperature rises and swelling of the lymph nodes appears.



An experienced and qualified professional can easily diagnose you with Chagas disease. To do this, you will be sent for a comprehensive diagnostic examination.

After that, the specialist will carry out the following activities:

  1. Collect a detailed history, find out if you have visited any countries;
  2. Study the medical history in detail;
  3. Measure body temperature;
  4. Feels the peritoneum;
  5. Assess the condition of the skin;
  6. Determine your heart rate.

After that, he will draw some conclusions, but he will still send you to the following laboratory tests:

  • General blood analysis;

  • General urine analysis;
  • Bacteriological culture;
  • Blood chemistry;
  • Puncture and biopsy of cerebrospinal fluid;
  • PCR tests;
  • Serological test.

Only the methods of instrumental analysis can finally confirm such a diagnosis. Among them:

  • Electrocardiogram;
  • Ultrasonography of the peritoneum;
  • X-ray of the colon using contrast;
  • Puncture of the bone marrow and lymph nodes.


Treatment methods

Despite many advances in modern medicine, Chagas disease is difficult to treat. The only thing that can be achieved with the help of drug therapy is to reduce the mortality rate among those infected.

Even an integrated approach does not guarantee that at some point the parasites will not start to become active and infect the internal organs. The drugs Benznidazole and Nifurtimox allow to stop the negative influence of microorganisms. It is best to use them during the acute stage, as their effectiveness is much higher.

If the disease has caused heart failure or arrhythmia, appoint:

  1. Antiarrhythmic drugs;
  2. ACE inhibitors;
  3. Anticoagulants;
  4. Cardiac glycosides.


If the work of the cardiovascular system is seriously impaired, coronary artery bypass grafting, implantation of pacemakers and even a heart transplant are indicated.

Chagas disease requires mandatory symptomatic treatment. In the presence of serious abnormalities in the gastrointestinal tract, drugs based on corticosteroids are prescribed, with megacolon - colon resection and colostomy imposition.

It is difficult to say exactly what the prognosis for the treatment of Chagas disease will be. It all depends on the stage of the disease, when it was diagnosed, the age of the patient, the presence of complicating diseases of the internal organs.

Try to monitor your lifestyle to minimize the risk of contracting this infection.


Chagas disease always causes serious complications that affect the functioning of the entire body. Most often, negative consequences occur after the progression of the disease into the chronic stage.

In this case, the following pathologies may worsen:

  1. Expansion and thickening of the walls of the esophagus. Because of this, a person faces difficulty in swallowing and digesting food, which leads to frequent digestive disorders.
  2. Enlargement of the large intestine - in this case, food is forced to travel a longer path, due to which the patient is faced with frequent constipation.
  3. Heart failure is a condition in which the heart muscle cannot perform its function: to pump the required amount of blood.



Chagas disease has been studied many times by researchers, but so far they have not been able to find a vaccine against this disease. Vector control is the most obvious way to reduce the risk of infection. This method is most relevant for Latin Americans. The rest should adhere to special safety rules for organ transplants or blood transfusions.

Also observe the following guidelines when visiting endemic areas:

  • Treat the premises with special solutions;
  • Contact with pets at a minimum;
  • Spray the house and the surrounding area with special insecticides;
  • Give up living in dilapidated clay houses, you should also not be in their immediate vicinity;
  • Observe all personal hygiene measures;

  • Handle food thoroughly before eating;
  • Strengthen your immune system before traveling to dangerous areas;
  • Screen blood donors if transfusion is needed;
  • After visiting exotic countries, do an extended survey;
  • Use bed nets;
  • Lead a neat lifestyle so that you do not need to visit local hospitals;
  • Hang special screens on windows and doors.


When visiting exotic countries, you need to be extremely careful. Here, at every corner, serious dangers await you that could cost you your life. If you follow all the rules, the risk of contracting Chagas disease will be extremely small.

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