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Chagas disease
  1. A R L Teixeira1,
  2. N Nitz2,
  3. M C Guimaro2,
  4. C Gomes2,
  5. C A Santos-Buch3,*
  1. 1Multidisciplinary Research Laboratory, Faculty of Medicine, University of Brasilia, Federal District, Brazil
  2. 2Chagas Disease Multidisciplinary Research Laboratory, University of Brasília, Federal District, Brazil
  3. 3Cornell University Medical College, New York, New York, USA
  1. Correspondence to:
 Dr A R L Teixeira
 Chagas Disease Multidisciplinary Research Laboratory, Faculty of Medicine, University of Brasília, PO Box 04536 70919-970, Federal District, Brazil; ateixeir{at}unb.br

Abstract

Chagas disease is the clinical condition triggered by infection with the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi. The infection is transmitted by triatomine insects while blood feeding on a human host. Field studies predict that one third of an estimated 18 million T cruzi-infected humans in Latin America will die of Chagas disease. Acute infections are usually asymptomatic, but the ensuing chronic T cruzi infections have been associated with high ratios of morbidity and mortality: Chagas heart disease leads to unexpected death in 37.5% of patients, 58% develop heart failure and die and megacolon or megaoesophagus has been associated with death in 4.5%. The pathogenesis of Chagas disease appears to be related to a parasite-induced mutation of the vertebrate genome. Currently, treatment is unsatisfactory.

  • kDNA, kinetoplast DNA

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Footnotes

  • * Retired.

  • Funding: This work has been partially supported by Financiadora de Estudos e Projetos–FINEP, Brazil, and by NIH grant I-R03-AI067334-01.

  • Competing interests: None declared.

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