June 2003, Volume 33 Number 6 , p 22 - 22
Outline Transmitting T. cruzi
Staging the disease
Testing for T. cruzi
SPREAD TO HUMANS by blood-sucking triatomine insects infected with the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi , Chagas' disease is a debilitating and potentially fatal infection. Also called American trypanosomiasis, the disease affects more than 18 million people in Latin America and up to 100,000 immigrants living in the United States. Unfamiliar with the disease, American clinicians may miss the diagnosis.
Because blood and organ donations aren't tested routinely for T. cruzi in the United States, infected blood or solid organ donors may transmit the disease to recipients. In the United States, several patients were infected by organ transplantation in 2001, prompting The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network and the United Network for Organ Sharing to explore screening donors for T. cruzi ...