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| Updated on April 11, 2020

First world Chagas disease day

For the first time, the global community will celebrate World Chagas Disease Day, on April 14. The aim is to raise visibility and public awareness in people about the disease and help raise the resources needed for its prevention, control or elimination.

Chagas disease, also called American trypanosomiasis, has been termed as a “silent and silenced disease”, not only because of its slowly progressing and frequently asymptomatic clinical course but also because it affects mainly poor people who have no political voice or access to healthcare.

Once endemic in Latin American countries, Chagas disease is now present in many others, making it a global health problem. It was on this date in 1909 that the first patient, a Brazilian girl named Berenice Soares de Moura, was diagnosed with this disease by Dr Carlos Ribeiro Justiniano Chagas.

Evidence-based, cost-effective interventions exist, including screening (blood, organs and of new-borns and children), early case detection, prompt treatment of cases, vector control, hygiene and food safety.

Chagas disease is prevalent mainly among poor populations of continental Latin America and affects 6–7 million people. During the past decades, it has been increasingly detected in the US and Canada and in many European and some Western Pacific countries. The disease can be transmitted by vectorial transmission. Without treatment, Chagas disease can lead to severe cardiac and digestive alterations and become fatal.

Published on April 11, 2020

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