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Acta Trop. 2013 Aug;127(2):126-35. doi: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2013.04.007. Epub 2013 Apr 30.

Chagas disease (American trypanosomiasis) in Mexico: an update.

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1
Department of Molecular Biology, Instituto Nacional de Cardiología Ignacio Chávez, Mexico City 14080, Mexico.

Abstract

Chagas disease is a parasitic infection caused by the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi, a flagellated organism that is transmitted mainly to humans through the infected feces of triatomine kissing bugs (vector transmission in endemic areas) or by transfusion of infected blood, donations of infected organ, or transmission from an infected mother to her child at birth. Chagas disease was first described in 1909 by the Brazilian physician Carlos Chagas, and due to the parasite's distribution throughout North, Central and South America, the disease is commonly known as American trypanosomiasis. However, this disease is now present in non-endemic countries such as Canada, the United States of America, and several countries in Europe (principally Spain). Moreover, Chagas disease was recently designated by the World Health Organization as one of the main neglected tropical diseases. The aim of this review is to summarize the research efforts recently described in studies conducted in Mexico on Chagas disease. In this country, there are no existing vector control programs. In addition, there is no consensus on the diagnostic methods for acute and chronic Chagas disease in maternity wards and blood banks, and trypanocidal therapy is not administered to chronic patients. The actual prevalence of the disease is unknown because no official reporting of cases is performed. Therefore, the number of people infected by different routes of transmission (vector, congenital, blood transfusion, organ transplantation, or oral) is unknown. We believe that by promoting education about Chagas disease in schools starting at the basic elementary level and including reinforcement at higher education levels will ensure that the Mexican population would be aware of this health problem and that the control measures adopted will have more acceptance and success. We hope that this review sensitizes the relevant authorities and that the appropriate measures to reduce the risk of infection by T. cruzi are undertaken to provide the Mexican people a better quality of life.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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