Triatomine bug- or *kissing bug* which is the vector or carrier of the parasite that causes chagas disease

Triatomine bug- or *kissing bug* which is the vector or carrier of the parasite that causes chagas disease
Photo Credit: via RI-MUHC

Chagas disease: study reveals new concerns

Share

With world travel so easily available, and through immigration, there are very few diseases now that are limited to one geographical area of the world.

This is the case with “chagas” disease.

Momar Ndao (PhD, DVM) is a scientist from the Infectious Diseases and Immunity in Global Health Program at the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (RI-MUHC), and an associate professor in the Department of Medicine at McGill University

Listen

R

Dr.Momar Ndao, scientist at RI-MUHC, and professor at McGill University Montreal
Dr.Momar Ndao, scientist at RI-MUHC, and professor at McGill University Montreal © RI-MUHC

esearchers in Canada have discovered some new concerns about the disease which is occurring mostly in Latin America. They found it can be more common than thought in immigrants and even in children who have never been to their parents country of origin or seldom returned to those areas

They found for example that Chagas disease can be transmitted through the womb.

The research was published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) under the title, Congenitally transmitted Chagas disease in Canada: a family cluster”.  Dr. Pierre Plourde, Medical Officer of Health and Medical Director of Travel Health and Tropical Medicine Services with the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority (WRHA), was the study’s corresponding author.

The research involved scientists from Montreal and Winnipeg into what is known as the “kissing bug” disease, so-called because the blood sucking insect tends to bite the face of its victims. The parasite causing the disease is released through the bug’s faeces. The protozoan parasite can enter the body through the bite of other open wound.

Triatomine bug- or *kissing bug* which is the vector or carrier of the parasite that causes chagas disease
Triatomine bug- or *kissing bug* which is the vector or carrier of the parasite that causes chagas disease ©  via RI-MUHC

The initial symptoms are flu-like in nature, but can fade and seem relatively dormant for two or three decades.. The parasite can eventually infect other areas of the body like the intestines, and heart, eventually leading to a premature death.

However, many people can have the disease in its dormant stage and not know about it. During that time the disease can be transmitted to others through blood donations, or organ transplants.

Microscopic image of protozoan parasite named Trypanosoma cruzi -chagas disease
Microscopic image of protozoan parasite named Trypanosoma cruzi which causes Chagas disease and is mostly found in Latin America and, occasionally, in southern parts of the United States © via RI-MUHC

In the course of their research the scientists discovered the case of a man who had donated blood several times until it was discovered in 201- that he carried chagas.

While blood donations are now screened for the disease in Canada, professor Ndao says anyone who travels to Latin America who may have been bitten by an insect should ask for testing.

© RI-MUHC

According to the authors, the countries known to pose the highest risk for contracting Chagas includes Argentina, Bolivia, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama, and Paraguay.

Because the Canadian research has revealed the disease can be passed to children through the womb, any child of immigrants from Latin America born in Canada, or other countries outside endemic areas, should also ask to be tested.

Indeed, he suggests that anyone travelling to an endemic country, as well as all immigrants, including children, should be tested upon entry.

  Montreal research team L-R Fabio Vasquez Camargo (Research Assistant), Nathalie Martel (Research Assistant), Momar Ndao (Director of the NRCP Laboratory, RI-MUHC),  and Makan Golizeh (Research Associate).
Montreal research team L-R Fabio Vasquez Camargo (Research Assistant), Nathalie Martel (Research Assistant), Dr. Momar Ndao (Director of the NRCP Laboratory, RI-MUHC), and Dr. Makan Golizeh (Research Associate). © RI-MUHC

He notes that the disease can be treated easily in its early “acute” phase, but it is much harder to treat afterward, and even after th 60-day treatment, cure may not be complete.

Ndao says they are now working on a bio-marker detection to be able to determine when the disease has been completely eliminated in a person.

Dr Plourde worked in partnership with parasitic diseases laboratory specialists Dr. Kamran Kadkhoda, Clinical Microbiologist from Cadham Provincial Laboratory in Winnipeg, and Dr. Ndao, head of the National Reference Centre for Parasitology (NRCP) at the RI-MUHC.

(with files from Julie Robert RI-MUHC)

Additional information –

Share
Categories: Environment, Health, Immigration & Refugees, International, Internet, Science and Technology
Tags: , , , , , , ,

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.

*