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      La enfermedad de Chagas en las Américas: una perspectiva de ecosalud Translated title: Chagas disease in the Americas: an ecohealth perspective


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          El proceso de transmisión de la enfermedad de Chagas ha estado históricamente relacionado con los patrones de ocupación territorial de los asentamientos humanos. En las áreas rurales puede ocurrir más fácilmente el encuentro del vector, los agentes patógenos y los seres humanos, por las condiciones de la vivienda y la pobreza existente en estas zonas. Los procesos migratorios permanentes o estacionales han jugado un papel igualmente importante en el transporte de los vectores y en la infección de la población en las zonas urbanas. Las nuevas fronteras agrícolas del Amazonas se han establecido nuevas áreas de transmisión de la enfermedad. La atención dada a los bancos de sangre ha permitido disminuir la transmisión transfusional, pero la inmigración internacional ha cambiado la situación epidemiológica, pues en Estados Unidos y España viven miles de enfermos que habían sido infectados décadas antes y no encuentran adecuada atención. Los avances en el conocimiento y el control de la enfermedad son mostrados en el artículo, señalando las limitaciones existentes en cuanto al mejoramiento de las condiciones ambientales y de vivienda de los pobres.

          Translated abstract

          The historical processes involved in Chagas disease transmission relate to the patterns and conditions of human settlements, especially in rural areas, due to proximity to forest areas, where both vectors and Trypanosoma cruzi can occur, combined with precarious housing conditions and underlying poverty. However, seasonal and permanent rural-urban migration has played a major role in re-mobilizing vectors, T. cruzi, and Chagas-infected individuals. A new agricultural frontier in the Amazon has led to a new transmission pattern, especially with palm trees located close to houses. Improved blood bank surveillance has decreased transmission by blood transfusions. International migration also plays a role in Chagas disease epidemiology. The United States and Spain, where specific health services for Chagas disease diagnosis and treatment are largely absent, harbor an unknown number of individuals with Chagas, probably infected decades ago. The article discusses major strides in Chagas disease knowledge and control, besides identifying persistent gaps, such as the need for housing improvements, especially in poor rural areas in the Americas.

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          Epidemiology of Chagas disease in non endemic countries: the role of international migration

          Human infection with the protozoa Trypanosoma cruzi extends through North, Central, and South America, affecting 21 countries. Most human infections in the Western Hemisphere occur through contact with infected bloodsucking insects of the triatomine species. As T. cruzi can be detected in the blood of untreated infected individuals, decades after infection took place; the infection can be also transmitted through blood transfusion and organ transplant, which is considered the second most common mode of transmission for T. cruzi. The third mode of transmission is congenital infection. Economic hardship, political problems, or both, have spurred migration from Chagas endemic countries to developed countries. The main destination of this immigration is Australia, Canada, Spain, and the United States. In fact, human infection through blood or organ transplantation, as well as confirmed or potential cases of congenital infections has been described in Spain and in the United States. Estimates reported here indicates that in Australia in 2005-2006, 1067 of the 65,255 Latin American immigrants (16 per 1000) may be infected with T. cruzi, and in Canada, in 2001, 1218 of the 131,135 immigrants (9 per 1000) whose country of origin was identified may have been also infected. In Spain, a magnet for Latin American immigrants since the 2000, 5125 of 241,866 legal immigrants in 2003 (25 per 1000), could be infected. In the United States, 56,028 to 357,205 of the 7,20 million, legal immigrants (8 to 50 per 1000), depending on the scenario, from the period 1981-2005 may be infected with T. cruzi. On the other hand, 33,193 to 336,097 of the estimated 5,6 million undocumented immigrants in 2000 (6 to 59 per 1000) could be infected. Non endemic countries receiving immigrants from the endemic ones should develop policies to protect organ recipients from T. cruzi infection, prevent tainting the blood supply with T. cruzi, and implement secondary prevention of congenital Chagas disease.
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            Control of Chagas disease.

            The Southern Cone Initiative (Iniciativa de Salud del Cono Sur, INCOSUR) to control domestic transmission of Trypanosoma cruzi is a substantial achievement based on the enthusiasm of the scientific community, effective strategies, leadership, and cost-effectiveness. INCOSUR triggered the launch of other regional initiatives in Central America and in the Andean and Amazon regions, which have all made progress. The Central American Initiative targeted the elimination of an imported triatomine bug (Rhodnius prolixus) and the control of a widespread native species (Triatoma dimidiata), and faced constraints such as a small scientific community, the difficulty in controlling a native species, and a vector control programme that had fragmented under a decentralized health system. International organizations such as the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) have played an important role in bridging the gaps between fragmented organizational resources. Guatemala achieved virtual elimination of R. prolixus and ;reduction of Tri. Dimidiata and El Salvador and Honduras revitalized their national programmes. The programme also revealed new challenges. Tri. dimidiata control needs to cover a large geographic area efficiently with stratification, quality control, community mobilization, and information management. Stakeholders such as the National Chagas Program, the local health system and their communities, as well as local government must share responsibilities to continue comprehensive vector control.
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              A 9,000-year record of Chagas' disease.

              Tissue specimens from 283 principally spontaneously (naturally) desiccated human mummies from coastal and low valley sites in northern Chile and southern Peru were tested with a DNA probe directed at a kinetoplast DNA segment of Trypanosoma cruzi. The time interval spanned by the eleven major cultural groups represented in the sample ranged from approximately 9,000 years B.P. (7050 B.C.) to approximately the time of the Spanish conquest, approximately 450 B.P. ( approximately 1500 A.D.). Forty-one percent of the tissue extracts, amplified by the PCR reacted positively (i.e., hybridized) with the probe. Prevalence patterns demonstrated no statistically significant differences among the individual cultural groups, nor among subgroups compared on the basis of age, sex, or weight of specimen tested. These results suggest that the sylvatic (animal-infected) cycle of Chagas' disease was probably well established at the time that the earliest humans (members of the Chinchorro culture) first peopled this segment of the Andean coast and inadvertently joined the many other mammal species acting as hosts for this parasite.

                Author and article information

                Role: ND
                Cadernos de Saúde Pública
                Cad. Saúde Pública
                Escola Nacional de Saúde Pública Sergio Arouca, Fundação Oswaldo Cruz (Rio de Janeiro )
                : 25
                : suppl 1
                : S71-S82
                [1 ] Laboratorio de Ciencias Sociales Venezuela
                [2 ] Universidad Central de Venezuela Venezuela



                SciELO Brazil

                Self URI (journal page): http://www.scielosp.org/scielo.php?script=sci_serial&pid=0102-311X&lng=en
                Health Policy & Services

                Public health
                Chagas Disease,Vector Control,Disease Transmission,Enfermedad de Chagas,Control Vectorial,Transmisión de Enfermedad


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