After being called “the new AIDS of the Americas,” Chagas, a tropical disease spread by insects, is beginning to cause some concern.
The Public Library of Science’s Neglected Tropical Diseases is the medical journal that published the article on Chagas. The editorial said that the spread of the disease resembles the early years of HIV.
The tropical disease, also known as American trypanosomiasis, has affected more than eight million people, where most of the infected live in Latin and Central America. However, 300,000 people have been infected in the United States.
HIV is a sexually-transmitted disease, whereas Chagas is a disease caused by parasites transmitted to humans through blood-sucking insects.
The insects that can infect you are called the “kissing bugs.” As it is ingest your blood, it is excreting the parasite at the same time. When you begin scratching the bug bite, you’re infected when the parasite moves into the wound.
The two diseases are similar in some ways, however.
Both diseases require expansive and expensive treatment and are prone to affect those living in poverty. Also, many patients affected do not have access to health care facilities.
The disease kills up to 20,000 people each year, and is hard or impossible to cure, according to The New York Times. Approximately 20 percent of those affected by Chagas develop a serious and life-threatening form of the disease.
Chagas can be transmitted from mother to child as well as by blood transfusions. Treatment of Chagas involves taking very harsh drugs for up to three months. Unfortunately, the drugs will only work if the disease is caught early.
Snyder and Wenner, P.C.