The infection occurs when the feces of the transmitting insect enter the skin via the bite or the eye of the person. EFE / Archivo (photo:EFE )
Washington, August 20 (EFE) .- The American Heart Association (AHA) today warned of the risks of Chagas disease in countries such as the United States. and Spain, areas where this condition has traditionally not been observed, is shown by a study published in the specialized journal Circulation.
"This statement is intended to raise global awareness among physicians treating patients with Chagas disease outside a traditional endemic environment," said one of the scientists responsible for the report, Maria Carmo Pereira.
Chagas disease, which is transmitted by the infection of the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi (T cruzi), causes about one third of the infected chronic heart disease.
The treatment and risks associated with it are well known in Latin American countries such as Brazil, Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay, Mexico and El Salvador, places where this disease has fought over time.
In the US, where an estimated 300,000 cases have been diagnosed, or in Spain, with at least 42,000 people with that disease, the relationship with heart disease is less known.
Other countries, such as Italy, France, Switzerland and the United Kingdom, have also discovered cases in recent decades.
"This document will help caregivers and health systems outside of Latin America to recognize, diagnose and treat Chagas disease and prevent the transmission of other diseases," added Pereira, a cardiologist at the Federal University of Minas Gerais. Belo Horizonte (Brazil).
The infection occurs when the feces of the transmitting insect enter the skin via the bite or the eye of the person.
The disease can also be transmitted through contaminated food or beverages, from pregnant mothers to their babies and through blood transfusions and organ transplants.
Although between 60 and 70 percent of people infected with T cruzi never develop symptoms, those who do develop heart disease, including heart failure, stroke, life-threatening ventricular arrhythmias and cardiac arrest.
However, if it is detected early, an infection can be cured with drugs with a success rate between 60 and 90 percent, depending on the condition it is in.
"The early detection of Chagas disease is fundamental, allowing an immediate start to therapy when evidence of healing is strong," said Caryn Bern co-author of the University of California, San Francisco (US).
The risk of infection is extremely low for most travelers and residents of endemic countries, according to the report.