Chagas Disease

Annals in the Clinic

Chagas disease, which is caused by infection with the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, is a leading neglected tropical disease in the United States. An estimated 240 000 to 350 000 persons in the United States are infected, primarily immigrants from Mexico, Central America, and South America, where the disease is endemic. The parasite is transmitted by the triatomine bug but can also be passed through blood transfusion, via organ transplant, or congenitally. Approximately 30% of infected persons later develop cardiac and/or gastrointestinal complications. Health care providers should consider screening at-risk patients with serologic testing. Early diagnosis and treatment with benznidazole or nifurtimox can help prevent complications.


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Annals in the Clinic

Annals In the Clinic is a monthly feature in Annals of Internal Medicine introduced in January 2007 that focuses on practical management of patients with common clinical conditions. It offers evidence-based answers to frequently asked questions about screening, prevention, diagnosis, therapy, and patient education and provides physicians with tools to improve the quality of care.