Chagas Disease: Poverty, Immigration, and a ‘New HIV/AIDS’
Is this protozoan, Trypanosoma cruzi, causing a silent disease emergency? The insect-borne sickness, termed Chagas disease, can lead to heart enlargement and cardiac failure in as many as a third of those infected.
With as many as 10 million people worldwide infected, most of them in tropical, poverty-ridden locales, maybe it’s time to pay close attention to this emerging danger? Maryn McKenna has a great write-up of how “immigrant bias” might be giving public health officials an excuse to keep the sufferers at arm’s length. The problem is that Chagas is already in the U.S., and its hotspots (like Texas) aren’t requiring blood donor screening.
To fight an epidemic, you must first recognize that it’s beginning. Prejudices against the gay community prevented a head start against HIV, and we should make sure that doesn’t happen again with Chagas.
(via Wired Science, you can also read the original paper in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases)