Chagas disease

Synonyms: American trypanosomiasis, Kissing bug disease

Medical Specialties: Cardiology, Family practice, Internal medicine

Clinical Definition

Chagas disease is an infection transmitted by insects, caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi and common in South and Central America. In acute phases, symptoms may be non-existent or mild, such as fever and malaise. In the chronic phase, which may take 20 years to develop, arrhythmias, tachycardia and enlarged lymph nodes may occur.   

In Our Own Words

Chagas disease, also known as the kissing bug disease, is an infection caused by a parasite spread by the bite of insects. It is common in rural areas of South and Central America. Symptoms are mild or non-existent in the early phase. Chronic symptoms may take 20 years go develop but can include palpitations, digestive problems, abnormal heart rhythms and enlarged liver and spleen. Medications can treat the infection, but heart failure is a potentially deadly complication.

Relevant Conditions
  • African trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness)
Common Types
  • Acute
  • Chronic
Side Effects
  • Fever
  • Ill feeling
  • Digestive problems
  • Heart beat problems
Share this article
  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "Parasites--American Trypanosomiasis (also known as Chagas Disease)." Parasites. July 2013. Accessed November 2013.
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