Chagas Disease - Dream Health

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Wednesday 18 November 2015

Chagas Disease

Chagas Disease - Transmitted – Bite of Insect Triatominae/Kissing Bug

Chagas is considered as the kissing disease since the infection tends to get transmitted from the bite of an insect known as Triatominae, also known as a kissing bug which likes to feed on a warm blooded animal’s face while it sleeps. This disease is generally caused by a sub-tropical protozoan parasite – Trypanosoma Cruzi – T. Cruzi and this parasite enters the blood stream of its host and begins the repetition process ultimately infecting every cell of the body with parasitic protozoa duplicates.

The victim often does not show any signs of infection till around 10 and 30 years thereafter, when the chronic phase of the disease tends to become obvious. This disease has been named after Dr Carlos Chagas who had discovered the blood parasite in 1909. Till mid-1960, the disease was not considered or recognized as a health threat in the United States. Chagas is limited mainly in Mexico and Central and South America and the reports of infection epidemic in the United State as well as Europe are generally treated in the initial stages of development.

Symptoms of Chagas Disease

Symptoms of Chagas tend to change over time when the infection slowly spreads in the entire body. At the initial stage of the infection, the victim generally does not show any signs of at times mild symptoms of fever, headaches, swollen glands, diarrhoea, sluggishness, loss of appetite and redness/swelling at the areas of entry to the body.

If Chagas for instance has been the result of a bite, the area surrounding the bite will show signs of infection and if contracted orally through ingestion, the signs of infection would be in the mouth and throat. Within the period of 2 – 3 months of infection without treatment, the victim with Chagas disease will pass in the chronic phase and the chronic symptoms consist of speech impairment, loss of balance and confusion which generally tends to take place due to the severe brain swelling linked with Chagas disease.

People in the chronic phase without being treated would become either asymptomatic, not showing any further signs of symptoms or they would develop disturbing health problems years after the earlier symptoms show up. These chronic health problems may include severe inflammation in the oesophagus, colon, glands, lungs, kidneys, brain as well as the heart.

Anti-Parasitic Drugs/Immunotherapies Effective Treatment

As the symptoms of this disease as well as the reproduction cycle are alike as that of HIV, its treatment is the same too. Anti-parasitic drugs and immunotherapiesare very effective at the time of acute phase of the disease which brings about 85% cures to those infected.

However, during the chronic phase, anti-parasitic drugs and immunotherapies have shown to slow down the inception of the disease though not totally eliminate it from the infected person. Unfortunately for those who are already in the chronic stages of this disease, there seems to be no cure and the treatment involves dealing all the symptoms as they tend to take place like stem cell therapy, organ transplantation surgery and the utilisation of immunosuppression drugs.

Since no vaccines have been created to stop the spread of Chagas disease, preventive measures need to be taken in consideration to ensure a lower risk of infections which include reducing the number of insect who tend to carry the parasite and early blood screening tests in individuals who live or travel within infected areas.

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