Chagas Disease as an Undiagnosed Type of Cardiomyopathy in the United States
|Study Design:||Observational Model: Natural History|
|Study Start Date:||January 1993|
|Estimated Study Completion Date:||December 1993|
In Latin America, 16 to 18 million individuals are thought to have Chagas' disease and 90 million are considered to be at risk of infection. In the United States, the occurrence of Chagas' disease is virtually limited to individuals who have resided in Latin America where they acquired the infection, and then migrated to this country.
Data on the prevalence of positive serologic reactions for Trypanosoma cruzi (a protozoan causing Chagas cardiomyopathy) serve for calculating that a total of up to 74,000 Latin Americans residing in the United States have the chronic form of chagasic cardiomyopathy. The vast majority of these individuals are either undiagnosed, or misdiagnosed as having idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy or coronary artery disease. Vector transmission of T. cruzi infection is very unlikely to occur in the United States because of variations in biological behavior of local species of insect vectors and because of changes in human living conditions. Transfusion of blood from infected but asymptomatic individuals is considered the most important mechanism of transmission of this disorder in the United States.
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