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Prog Transplant. 2013 Sep;23(3):272-7. doi: 10.7182/pit2013712.

Chagas disease: a proposal for testing policy for solid-organ transplant in the United States.

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The University of Toledo College of Medicine, Toledo, OH, USA.


Chagas disease is caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. The disease is difficult to detect because of the asymptomatic pathogenesis after infection. Chagas disease is endemic throughout much of Mexico, Central America, and South America, but human migration patterns are bringing the pathogen to the United States. The disease currently affects 16 to 18 million people with approximately 50 000 deaths annually in these countries. In the United States, national screening of the blood supply was instituted in early 2007, and more than 1000 donors with T cruzi infection have been identified within the past 3 years of testing. It was observed that out of the 58 organ procurement organizations in the United States, only 4 required mandatory testing of every donor for Chagas disease. It was estimated that as of 2009, approximately 409 000 residents are living with Chagas disease, and in a 22-year span, approximately 300 patients may have contracted Chagas disease through transplant. Proposed solutions to the current testing method include automatic testing based on the medical social history questionnaire, testing of all recipients for Chagas disease, testing all persons of Latin descent, or testing of all organ donors.

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