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Published On: Wed, Feb 5th, 2014

Venezuela reports spike in Chagas disease cases in January 2014

The Venezuela Ministry of Health has reported a great surge of the parasitic infection, Chagas disease during the first month of 2014, according to an El Universal report Feb. 4 (computer translated).

Triatoma infestans, kissing bug

The “kissing bug”, Triatoma infestans, a vector for Chagas disease, “American trypanosomiasis”–Image/CDC

The report notes that in the first three weeks of January 2014 there has been 334 cases of Chagas disease, with more than half of the cases recorded during the third week of January alone.

This is an huge increase compared to the four cases reported during the same period in 2013.

Related story: Chagas disease in North America

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Chagas disease, also known as American trypanosomiasis, is a potentially life-threatening illness caused by the protozoan parasite, Trypanosoma cruzi (T. cruzi). It is found mainly in endemic areas of 21 Latin American countries.

About 7 million to 8 million people worldwide are estimated to be infected with the parasite.

Chagas disease slideshow

T. cruzi parasites are mainly transmitted by the infected feces of blood-sucking triatomine bugs. In addition, the parasite can be transmitted via food contaminated with T. cruzi through for example the contact with triatomine bug feces, blood transfusions using blood from infected donors, passage from an infected mother to her newborn during pregnancy or childbirth, organ transplants using organs from infected donors and laboratory accidents.

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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