An Unfolding Tragedy of Chagas Disease in North America

In North America, Chagas disease (American trypanosomiasis caused by Trypanosoma cruzi) was first reported in Mexico in 1940 [1] and in the United States in Texas in 1955 [2]. However, based on ancient mummified remains discovered in the Rio Grande Valley, human T. cruzi infection has been present in North America since prehistoric times [3].

T. cruzi is a protozoan hemoflagellate that is most commonly transmitted to humans by blood-feeding triatomine bugs followed by autoinoculation [2]. Chagas disease can also be transmitted to man by non-vectorial mechanisms, namely mother-to-child-transmission [4], blood transfusion, and orally through food-borne transmission. When untreated in the acute stage, the disease becomes chronic and up to 30% or more of infected individuals will progress to Chagasic cardiomyopathy or megavisceral disease associated with debilitating morbidity or death. Today, Chagas disease is a leading cause of heart disease among people living in extreme poverty in the Western Hemisphere, especially in Latin America, where it is a major parasitic killer [2].

Read the whole article

Texas and Mexico: sharing a legacy of poverty and NTDs

A consortium of institutions from Texas and Mexico has launched a new initiative for developing vaccines and other tools to control and eliminate neglected tropical diseases in Mesoamerica.

The southern United States and northern Mexico not only share a border, they also share history, culture, and language. With its constant exchange of people and goods, the US–Mexico border region (of which Texas represents a large proportion) can be considered a single, unique, epidemiological unit with its own difficulties and challenges. Although Mexico and Texas have benefited from widespread economic development and with it improvements in life expectancy and overall public health, many diseases in a group of infections known as the neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) still remain highly endemic on both sides of the Texas–Mexico border.

Full article here