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Expert Rev Anti Infect Ther. 2015 Aug;13(8):995-1029. doi: 10.1586/14787210.2015.1056158.

Between a bug and a hard place: Trypanosoma cruzi genetic diversity and the clinical outcomes of Chagas disease.

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Department of Pathogen Molecular Biology, Faculty of Infectious Tropical Diseases, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, London, UK.


Over the last 30 years, concomitant with successful transnational disease control programs across Latin America, Chagas disease has expanded from a neglected, endemic parasitic infection of the rural poor to an urbanized chronic disease, and now a potentially emergent global health problem. Trypanosoma cruzi infection has a highly variable clinical course, ranging from complete absence of symptoms to severe and often fatal cardiovascular and/or gastrointestinal manifestations. To date, few correlates of clinical disease progression have been identified. Elucidating a putative role for T. cruzi strain diversity in Chagas disease pathogenesis is complicated by the scarcity of parasites in clinical specimens and the limitations of our contemporary genotyping techniques. This article systematically reviews the historical literature, given our current understanding of parasite genetic diversity, to evaluate the evidence for any association between T. cruzi genotype and chronic clinical outcome, risk of congenital transmission or reactivation and orally transmitted outbreaks.


cardiomyopathy; congenital transmission; diagnostics; genetic diversity; oral outbreaks; reactivation; treatment; • Chagas disease

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