- Hello, Jeff - Doctors in the US should learn more about
Chagas Disease. It can also infect via blood transfusion and given the
high immigation rate from Latin America, our blood supply could be
with Chagas right now. Chagas Disease could become a disease seen in ERs
around the US anytime now.
- Patricia Doyle
- Fatal Outbreak In Brazil Could Stem From Sugar
By Luisa Massarani
- Contaminated sugar cane juice is thought to be the source
of a Brazilian outbreak of Chagas disease, a potentially fatal parasitic
disease normally transmitted to people by insect bites.
- In the past few days, health officials in the state of
Santa Catarina have recorded 45 cases of patients developing symptoms of
Chagas disease after drinking the juice. At least five of the patients
- The patients initially reported having fever, migraine,
and muscle pain, with some going on to develop jaundice, abdominal pain,
internal bleeding, fluid in the lungs and heart failure.
- Blood tests confirmed the presence of Trypanosoma cruzi,
the parasite that causes Chagas disease, in 31 of the 45 suspected
- The disease is usually spread to people when insects
called assassin or kissing bugs bite them, but researchers believe that
food and drink that have been contaminated by the parasite could be an
alternative route of infection.
- So far though, the mechanism is not known.
- Sonia Gumes Andrade, who studies Chagas disease at the
Gonçalo Moniz Research Institute says that since the 1960s, there
have been a number of 'micro-epidemics' of the disease in which the kissing
bug was not recorded. She adds that the current outbreak is the most
in terms of the number of cases.
- In 2002, Andrade demonstrated that the parasite could
be transmitted orally.
- "We introduced Trypanosoma cruzi through a tube
directly to the stomach of mice and we observed that the parasite not only
survives in the gastric juice, but also is able to infect the animal,"
she told SciDev.Net.
- Previously, scientists thought the gastric juice would
destroy the parasite.
- Brazil's Ministry of Health has launched an investigation
to find the source of contamination and is warning people of the
- Chagas disease infects an estimated 12 million people
in Latin America, killing tens of thousands each year.
- I have always found this to be such an interesting
and research into Trypanosoma caused disease will soon become even more
interesting as the genome sequencing is nearly complete. stephanie
- Patricia A. Doyle, PhD
- Please visit my "Emerging Diseases" message
- Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa
- Go with God and in Good Health