Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis And Treatment Of Chagas Disease

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Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis And Treatment Of Chagas Disease
Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis And Treatment Of Chagas Disease
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Causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment of Chagas disease

Due to the development of tourism in Russia, cases of infection with Chagas disease (American trypanosomiasis), a disease widespread on the American continent, have become more frequent. Infection with it leads to irreversible changes in the internal organs of an infected person, the prognosis for the disease is not always optimistic. The risk of death is especially high for young children.

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Infection with Chagas disease leads to irreversible changes in the internal organs of an infected person; the prognosis for the disease is not always optimistic.

Causes of the disease

The causative agent of the disease is Trypanosoma cruzi, a parasite with a complex development cycle. It is considered to be carried by a blood-sucking bug, which is infected with a trypanosome.

T. cruzi goes through several phases of its life cycle in which it lives:

  • in human tissue cells (amastigote);
  • in the intestines of vectors (epimastigote);
  • in the blood of animals and humans (trypomastigote).

Most often, the owner of trypanos is a person, less often - domestic animals.

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The most common way of contracting the disease is transmissible (realized through the bites of blood-sucking insects).

Bedbugs become infected in the process of feeding on human blood, as well as on animals containing trypomastigotes. While scratching the wounds on the skin after bug bites, the causative agent of the disease enters the human body along with their infected feces.

A feature of this pathogen is that it parasitizes in the cells of the myocardium, liver, lungs, lymph node endothelium, in macrophages of the skin and mucous membranes. This parasitism causes irreversible damage to internal organs.

The most common way of contracting the disease is transmissible (realized through the bites of blood-sucking insects). But other methods are also possible - sexual, alimentary (i.e., fecal-oral), transplacental (from mother to fetus during pregnancy).

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Chagas disease can be transmitted from mother to fetus during pregnancy.

It is completely impossible to get rid of this infection; parasites live in the host's body throughout their life.

Chagas disease symptoms

The incubation period of this disease lasts 1-3 weeks. Then, at the point of penetration of the parasite, an inflammatory reaction develops on the skin, most often it looks like a knot or edema of the eyelid with severe redness and swelling. The appearance of such a reaction is accompanied by an increase in the lymph nodes located next to the focus of inflammation.

The disease goes through 2 stages: acute and chronic. During the first, which lasts 2 months, a large concentration of parasites circulates in the patient's blood. In the second, chronic stage, they are concentrated in the internal organs.

The first stage is often asymptomatic, the most severe form of the disease develops in children under 5 years of age, mortality among them reaches 10-15%.

Symptoms of pathology include general malaise
Symptoms of pathology include general malaise

Symptoms of pathology include general malaise.

Fever is a symptom of Chagas disease
Fever is a symptom of Chagas disease

Fever is a symptom of Chagas disease.

Headache may be a symptom of Chagas disease
Headache may be a symptom of Chagas disease

Headache can be a symptom of Chagas disease.

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Symptoms of pathology include: general malaise, fever up to 40 ° C, headaches and muscle pains, inflammation of the lymph nodes.

Changes in cardiac activity, lesions of the central nervous system often develop.

In the chronic form of the disease, there are no symptoms until pathological irreversible changes occur in the internal organs.

Complications

The complications of the disease leading to death in young children include the development of hemorrhage in the meninges or acute meningoencephalitis.

With intrauterine infection, abortion or premature birth can occur. In newborns, the disease is accompanied by severe anemia, jaundice, convulsions, and is often fatal.

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In newborns, the disease is accompanied by jaundice.

At a later stage, the patient develops cardiomyopathy (disruption of the heart and heart rhythm), enlargement of the esophagus and colon (megacolon). Over time, the pathology can cause sudden death of the patient due to progressive destruction of the heart muscle or stroke.

Diagnostics

Diagnosis of the disease is quite difficult and includes the results of several stages:

  • collection by the doctor of anamnesis, taking into account the place and conditions of the patient's birth, as well as his possible trips to areas endemic for this pathology;
  • a thorough analysis of the clinical picture;
  • conducting a number of laboratory tests.
Diagnosis of the disease is quite difficult and includes a number of laboratory tests
Diagnosis of the disease is quite difficult and includes a number of laboratory tests

Diagnosis of the disease is quite difficult and includes a number of laboratory tests.

The patient's blood can be used as a test material
The patient's blood can be used as a test material

The patient's blood can be used as a test material.

Culture of the blood of an infected person can identify parasites in their pure form
Culture of the blood of an infected person can identify parasites in their pure form

Bacterial culture of the blood of an infected person can reveal parasites in their pure form.

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The patient's blood, cerebrospinal fluid, punctates (a small amount of tissue or fluid extracted by puncture) from lesions, lymph nodes, and bone marrow can be used as the test material.

In the acute phase of the disease, trypanosomes can be seen on blood microscopy.

Bacterial culture of the blood of an infected person can reveal parasites in their pure form.

In the chronic form of the disease, serodiagnostic methods are used for diagnosis, based on the ability of serum antibodies to react with the corresponding antigens. These include: complement binding reaction, indirect fluorescence reaction, indirect hemagglutination reaction (used at blood transfusion stations).

Treatment and prevention

Today, medicine does not possess effective means to combat this infection; therapy can only reduce the mortality rate among patients. In the treatment of pathology, 2 drugs are used: Nifurtimox and Benzimidazole. Their use gives a good effect in the acute stage of the disease, but they are still not able to completely destroy the parasites in the body and have a number of severe side effects.

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Disease prevention involves adherence to personal hygiene rules.

When the disease becomes chronic, treatment is limited to relieving its symptoms. In case of heart failure and arrhythmias, in addition to drug treatment (prescription of cardiac glycosides), the patient may be shown bypass surgery, the installation of a pacemaker or heart transplantation.

Treatment of meningoencephalitis is symptomatic, with megacolon surgery is possible.

Prevention of the disease implies the treatment of human housing and other habitats of bedbugs from parasites, compliance with the rules of personal hygiene, and a thorough examination of blood donors.

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