Nav: Home

Seroprevalence and disease burden of chagas disease in south Texas

November 10, 2016

Chagas disease (Trypanosoma cruzi infection) is a parasitic infection that can lead to fatal cardiac disease. While Latin America is known as an endemic area, there have been relatively few studies investigating the prevalence of Chagas disease in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. A paper published in PLOS Neglected Diseases led by researchers at the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine suggests that the disease burden in southern Texas is much higher than previously thought. Considering up to 30% of people infected with Trypanosoma cruzi can develop fatal cardiomyopathy, this study's findings carry important implications to the health of the population of south Texas.

"Kissing bugs", (triatominae) who feed on both humans and animals, are the vectors primarily responsible for the transmission of Chagas disease. The disease is predominantly found in impoverished regions where substandard living conditions can lead to increased exposure to the parasitic kissing bugs. In order to assess the infection status of vectors and seroprevalence among human and mammal populations living in in the lower Rio Grande Valley, Dr. Melissa Nolan Garcia, instructor of pediatrics at Baylor who is also with Texas Children's Hospital, and colleagues tested kissing bug vectors and retrospectively analyzed previously collected sera from coyotes, stray dogs, and human participants.

Out of 841 human sera samples, 3 people (0,4%) tested positive for T. cruzi, while 8% of coyotes and 3.8% of stray dogs were found to be infected. Among the insects sampled, 56.5% were found to be T. cruzi carriers. Based on the findings of the study, the authors estimate that around 4,600 people in the Rio Grande Valley are currently infected with Chagas disease, and of those, an estimated 1,300 are at risk for developing cardiomyopathy. These results not only confirm the risk for disease transmission in south Texas, but indicate that the regional burden of Chagas disease is 23 times higher than previously estimated.

The study does have limitations, as the authors acknowledge that the specimens were originally collected for other studies, and they are now conducting larger, more extensive surveillance studies targeting Chagas risk in this region. Overall, the findings point to a greater need for attention to Chagas disease in United States, particularly the identification of high risk groups. The authors assert that, "with up to 30% of infected individuals developing a potentially fatal cardiac disease, it is imperative that we identify and treat patients before heart disease occurs."
-end-
Please contact plosntds@plos.org if you would like more information about our content and specific topics of interest.

All works published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases are open access, which means that everything is immediately and freely available. Use this URL in your coverage to provide readers access to the paper upon publication: http://dx.plos.org/10.1371/journal.pntd.0005074 (Link goes live upon article publication)

Funding: This study was supported in part by MD000170 P20 funded from the National Center on Minority Health and Health Disparities, the Centers for Translational Science Award 1U54RR023417-01 from the National Center for Research Resources and the Centers for Disease Control Award RO1 DP000210-01, the United States Department of Defense, Army (W81XWH-04-2-0035), the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi), and NIH/NIAID 1R21AI114877-01A1. TPF and RP are supported by the NIH grant 5R25GM100866-02 564 awarded to Robert K. Dearth and Jason G. Parsons. The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.

Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.

PLOS

Related Chagas Disease Articles:

Tools used to study human disease reveal coral disease risk factors
In a study published in Scientific Reports, a team of international researchers led by University of Hawai'i (UH) at Mānoa postdoctoral fellow Jamie Caldwell used a statistical technique typically employed in human epidemiology to determine the ecological risk factors affecting the prevalence of two coral diseases--growth anomalies, abnormalities like coral tumors, and white syndromes, infectious diseases similar to flesh eating bacteria.
Disease-aggravating mutation found in a mouse model of neonatal mitochondrial disease
The new mitochondrial DNA (mtDNA) variant drastically speeds up the disease progression in a mouse model of GRACILE syndrome.
Long-dormant disease becomes most dominant foliar disease in New York onion crops
Until recently, Stemphylium leaf blight has been considered a minor foliar disease as it has not done much damage in New York since the early 1990s.
Alzheimer's drug also treats parasitic Chagas disease
The drugs currently used to treat Chagas disease, a neglected tropical disease, have serious side effects and limited use in those with chronic disease.
'Asexual' Chagas parasite found to sexually reproduce
The parasite that causes Chagas disease, which had largely been thought to be asexual, has been shown to reproduce sexually after scientists uncovered clues hidden in its genomic code.
Biocompound from Atlantic Rainforest combats leishmaniasis and Chagas disease
Researchers find that substances synthesized from plant species endemic to the biodiversity hotspot can kill the parasites that cause these neglected diseases.
Artificial intelligence identifies 'kissing bugs' that spread Chagas disease
A University of Kansas researcher publishes proof-of-concept research showing artificial intelligence can recognize 12 Mexican and 39 Brazilian species of kissing bugs with high accuracy by analyzing ordinary photos -- an advantage for officials looking to cut the spread of Chagas disease.
Shorter treatment for Chagas disease could be just as effective, and significantly safer
A two-week treatment course for adult patients with chronic Chagas disease showed, when compared to placebo, similar efficacy and significantly fewer side effects than the standard treatment duration of eight weeks, according to the results of a clinical trial in Bolivia led by the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi).
Long-term prognosis of Chagas patients improved with anti-parasite drug
Researchers have found that the anti-parasite drug benznidazole may improve the long-term prognoses of patients with chronic Chagas disease, according to a study published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, by Clareci Silva Cardoso at the Federal University of São João del-Rei, Divinópolis, Brazil, and colleagues from the SaMi-Trop study, a project funded by NIAID/NIH.
Chagas disease, caused by a parasite, has spread outside of...
Chagas disease is caused by a parasite, transmitted by a blood-sucking insect -- Trypanosoma cruzi -- and less frequently, from mother to fetus or by contaminated food or drink.
More Chagas Disease News and Chagas Disease Current Events

Trending Science News

Current Coronavirus (COVID-19) News

Top Science Podcasts

We have hand picked the top science podcasts of 2020.
Now Playing: TED Radio Hour

Listen Again: Meditations on Loneliness
Original broadcast date: April 24, 2020. We're a social species now living in isolation. But loneliness was a problem well before this era of social distancing. This hour, TED speakers explore how we can live and make peace with loneliness. Guests on the show include author and illustrator Jonny Sun, psychologist Susan Pinker, architect Grace Kim, and writer Suleika Jaouad.
Now Playing: Science for the People

#565 The Great Wide Indoors
We're all spending a bit more time indoors this summer than we probably figured. But did you ever stop to think about why the places we live and work as designed the way they are? And how they could be designed better? We're talking with Emily Anthes about her new book "The Great Indoors: The Surprising Science of how Buildings Shape our Behavior, Health and Happiness".
Now Playing: Radiolab

The Third. A TED Talk.
Jad gives a TED talk about his life as a journalist and how Radiolab has evolved over the years. Here's how TED described it:How do you end a story? Host of Radiolab Jad Abumrad tells how his search for an answer led him home to the mountains of Tennessee, where he met an unexpected teacher: Dolly Parton.Jad Nicholas Abumrad is a Lebanese-American radio host, composer and producer. He is the founder of the syndicated public radio program Radiolab, which is broadcast on over 600 radio stations nationwide and is downloaded more than 120 million times a year as a podcast. He also created More Perfect, a podcast that tells the stories behind the Supreme Court's most famous decisions. And most recently, Dolly Parton's America, a nine-episode podcast exploring the life and times of the iconic country music star. Abumrad has received three Peabody Awards and was named a MacArthur Fellow in 2011.