t may be one of the most common tropical diseases you've never heard of. But if you emigrated from an impoverished neighborhood in South and Central America, you need to discuss Chagas disease with a doctor, Florida health officials say.
Having lived in poor communities of that area of the hemisphere could mean you have the deadly parasitic disease and don't know it, even years after moving to the Sunshine State. A May 29 editorial published in the Public Library of Science's journal, "Neglected Tropical Diseases," referred to Chagas as "the new AIDS of the Americas" because of similarities with the early days of HIV in how it's contracted.
An important difference: Chagas is not sexually transmitted, nor is it contagious. It can be passed on from mother to child and through a blood transfusion or organ donation. But largely, it's spread through the bite of an infected, bloodsucking insect called the kissing bug, native to South and Central American countries (but not Florida).
About 10 million people in the world have been infected by Chagas, mostly in Latin America, and about 20 percent develop a life-threatening complication like an enlarged heart or intestines that can burst, according to the World Health Organization. About 300,000 cases have been diagnosed in the United States, largely because of what the WHO calls "population mobility" — infected people moving from Latin America. To prevent contamination of blood, organ and tissue supplies, the United States began screening prospective donors for Chagas in 2007.
Sunday, June 17, 2012
Florida at risk of Chagas disease from poor latin american immigrants.
But lets not control our borders or check illegal immigration. Giving amnesty is much better.