Chagas disease no longer for the poor

Posted on June 13, 2011 • Filed under: Health, Latin America Health, Social Issues, South America, TRAVEL, Venezuela

Roberto Briceño León, Venezuelan sociologist and consultant on parasitic diseases for the World Health Organization, gave a lecture entitled “Chagas Disease: from rural disease to urban epidemics” last week at the Second Conference for Strengthening the Teaching of Chagas Disease in Health Sciences. Per, León explained that Chagas is no longer a disease that affects only the poor and underprivileged, because of social and environmental changes, the disease can be contracted by anyone. Urbanization has brought the disease to larger cities, a lack of blood screening for Chagas has transferred the disease through those that donate blood and deforestation has made the disease transferable orally. Spain and U.S., countries with a high population of Latin American immigrants, have adopted new measures to combat Chagas.
In Latin America:

  • 12-14 million people have Chagas disease
  • ⅓ of them could die from the disease
  • 26 million people are at risk for contracting Chagas
  • 20-30% of those that get the parasite get the disease

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