Disease Information for Chagas disease: Definition

  • A form of trypanosomiasis endemic in Central and South America, caused by TRYPANOSOMA CRUZI. It may follow either an acute or chronic course, the former commonly in children

    Chagas Disease

    American Trypanosomiasis

    Brazilian Trypanosomiasis

    Disorder Subdivisions

    General Discussion

    Chagas Disease is a tropical infectious disease caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. It is transmitted by the bite of one of several species of blood-sucking insects or by blood transfusion. Acute Chagas Disease usually affects children and typically presents as the mild phase of the disease. However, this is generally followed by a long period of low level, parasitic infection (parasitemia). Many years later, about 10 to 30 percent of people with Chagas Disease develop the more severe symptoms associated with "chronic" Chagas Disease. The heart and digestive systems are most frequently involved in this phase of the disease. The most common features of late chronic Chagas Disease include abnormal enlargement of the esophagus (megaesophagus) and colon (megacolon), and congestive heart failure. Chagas Disease occurs primarily in Central and South America.

    [NORD 2005]

    Chagas" disease also known as:

    Chagas-Mazza disease

    Chagas-Cruz disease

    Cruz disease


    American trypoanosomiasis, Brazilian trypanosomiasis, careotrypanosis, South American trypanosomiasis, Trypanosomiasis americana.

    Associated persons:

    Carlos Ribeiro Justiniano Chagas

    Osvaldo Gonçalves Cruz

    Salvador Mazza


    An insect-born disease that is endemic in South-and central America from Mexico to Argentina. It is caused by the protozoa Trypanosoma cruzi and transferred by bedbugs (Triathoma infestans, Panstrongylus megistus, Rhodnius prolixus).

    Onset is usually in the first decade, involving one eye or, less frequently, the skin. Usually a small sore develops at the bite where the parasite enters the body. If this is near the eye, the eyelid becomes swollen. Within a few days, fever and swollen lymph nodes may develop. This initial acute phase may cause illness and death, especially in young children. More commonly, patients enter a symptomless phase lasting several months or years, during which time parasites are invading most organs of the body, often causing heart, intestinal and oesophageal damage and progressive weakness. In 32% of those infected, fatal damage to the heart and digestive tract occurs during this chronic phase

    [whonamedit.com 2005]