Chagas disease has been described as the new HIV/AIDS for the Americas. But chagas disease is not new. The disease is named after the doctor who described it in 1909. So how dangerous is chagas disease for Americans?
The disease is caused by “kissing bugs” or “assassin bugs”, and the bugs attack humans on their lips (hence the name) during the night. While the kissing bug is chewing on your face it is also defecating, which is how the disease is spread.
Chagas disease is typically not considered a major threat to Americans. The disease is most often spread by blood transfusions, organ transplants, and from the mother to the infant. Chagas is detected easily by blood screening, and it can easily be eradicated from an individual’s body soon after its discovery through blood work in most cases. This makes chagas disease quite different from HIV.
Also, although chagas disease is rampant in Central and South America, the disease is not as big of an issue in the US. The only people who might be concerned are Texans. This is due to blood donation screening not being a legal requirement in that state.
Have you ever heard of another American contracting chagas disease?