Chagas disease

From WikEM
(Redirected from Chagas)
Jump to: navigation, search


  • 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

Chronic phase

  • Between 20-40% of patients will develop chronic complications
  • Cardiac complications
    • Dilated cardiomyopathy (CHF)
    • Dysrhythmias
  • GI complications
    • Megaesophagus
    • Megacolon
    • Achalasia
    • Hepatosplenomegaly (secondary to HF)
  • Neuro symptoms
    • Neuritis

Differential Diagnosis


  • ECG
  • Liver Enzymes
  • Blood smear
    • Can visualize parasites
    • PCR, ELISA, immunoflorescence


  • Benznidazole or Nifurtimox
  • Symptomatic treatment

External Links

See Also