Chagas Disease

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 people 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 vertically from mother to child or via blood transfusion or organ transplant. Approximately 30% of infected people develop end-organ complications, including cardiomyopathy, arrhythmias, thromboembolic disease, and gastrointestinal complications. Chagas disease can be associated with significant morbidity and mortality, but early diagnosis and treatment can help prevent complications. Primary care providers should consider serologic testing in at-risk patients and screening in Latinx immigrants. Benznidazole or nifurtimox can be used for treatment, and specialists in infectious disease, cardiology, and gastroenterology may be helpful in addressing management.

Use this article to:

  • Review the presentation of Chagas disease. Who is at risk for it?
  • Do you have any patients with Chagas disease? How was it diagnosed?
  • Review the complications of Chagas disease.
  • Review the available therapeutic strategies for treating Chagas disease.
  • Test your knowledge by completing the quiz that accompanies the article and then review the correct answers.

Annals of Internal Medicine is the premier internal medicine academic journal published by the American College of Physicians (ACP). It is one of the most widely cited and influential specialty medical journals in the world.

Back to the March 2023 issue of ACP IMpact