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      Chagas Disease and Breast-feeding

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          Abstract

          Mothers with this disease should continue breast-feeding unless they are experiencing the acute phase, reactivated disease, or bleeding nipples.

          Abstract

          Chagas disease (infection by the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi) is a major parasitic disease of the Americas and one of the main neglected tropical diseases. Although various routes of transmission sre recognized, the risk for transmission of the infection through breast-feeding has not clearly been established. We reviewed the literature on transmission of T. cruzi through breast-feeding to provide breast-feeding mothers with Chagas disease with medical guidance. Although data from animal studies and human studies are scarce, we do not recommend that mothers with Chagas disease discontinue breast-feeding, unless they are experiencing the acute phase of the disease, reactivated disease resulting from immunosuppression, or bleeding nipples. In these cases, thermal treatment of milk before feeding the infant may be considered.

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          Most cited references 31

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          Oral transmission of Chagas disease.

          Chagas disease is now an active disease in the urban centers of countries of nonendemicity and endemicity because of congenital and blood and/or organ transplantation transmissions and the reactivation of the chronic disease in smaller scale than vectorial transmission, reported as controlled in countries of endemicity. Oral transmission of Chagas disease has emerged in unpredictable situations in the Amazon region and, more rarely, in areas of nonendemicity where the domiciliary triatomine cycle was under control because of exposition of the food to infected triatomine and contaminated secretions of reservoir hosts. Oral transmission of Chagas disease is considered when >1 acute case of febrile disease without other causes is linked to a suspected food and should be confirmed by the presence of the parasite after direct microscopic examination of the blood or other biological fluid sample from the patient.
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            Large urban outbreak of orally acquired acute Chagas disease at a school in Caracas, Venezuela.

            Trypanosoma cruzi oral transmission is possible through food contamination by vector's feces. Little is known about the epidemiology and clinical features of microepidemics of orally acquired acute Chagas disease (CD). A case-control, cohort-nested, epidemiological study was conducted during an outbreak of acute CD that affected a school community. Structured interviews were designed to identify symptoms and sources of infection. Electrocardiograms were obtained for all patients. Specific serum antibodies were assessed by immunoenzimatic and indirect hemagglutination tests. In some cases, parasitemia was tested directly or by culture, animal inoculation, and/or a polymerase chain reaction technique. Infection was confirmed in 103 of 1000 exposed individuals. Of those infected, 75% were symptomatic, 20.3% required hospitalization, 59% showed ECG abnormalities, parasitemia was documented in 44, and 1 child died. Clinical features differed from those seen in vectorial transmission. The infection rate was significantly higher among younger children. An epidemiological investigation incriminated contaminated fresh guava juice as the sole source of infection. This outbreak was unique, because it affected a large, urban, predominantly young, middle-class, otherwise healthy population and resulted in an unprecedented public health emergency. Rapid diagnosis and treatment avoided higher lethality. Food-borne transmission of T. cruzi may occur more often than is currently recognized.
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              Oral Transmission of Chagas Disease by Consumption of Açaí Palm Fruit, Brazil

              In 2006, a total of 178 cases of acute Chagas disease were reported from the Amazonian state of Pará, Brazil. Eleven occurred in Barcarena and were confirmed by visualization of parasites on blood smears. Using cohort and case–control studies, we implicated oral transmission by consumption of açaí palm fruit.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Emerg Infect Dis
                Emerging Infect. Dis
                EID
                Emerging Infectious Diseases
                Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
                1080-6040
                1080-6059
                October 2013
                : 19
                : 10
                : 1561-1566
                Affiliations
                Ramón y Cajal Hospital–Instituto Ramón y Cajal de Investigación Sanitaria, Madrid, Spain
                Author notes
                Address for correspondence: Francesca F. Norman, Tropical Medicine and Clinical Parasitology, Infectious Diseases Department, Hospital Ramón y Cajal, Ctra. de Colmenar Km 9, Madrid 28034, Spain; email: ffnorman@ 123456gmail.com
                Article
                13-0203
                10.3201/eid1910.130203
                3810739
                24050257
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