Clinical profile of Trypanosoma cruzi infection in a non-endemic setting: immigration and Chagas disease in Barcelona (Spain).
ABSTRACT Chagas disease is no longer limited to Latin America and is becoming frequent in industrialised countries in Europe and United States.
A descriptive study of Latin American immigrants in Barcelona attending two centres for imported diseases during a period of 3 years. The main outcome was the identification of Trypanosoma cruzi-infected individuals in a non-endemic country and the characterization of their clinical and epidemiological features.
A total of 489 Latin American patients participated in the study. Forty-one percent were infected by T. cruzi, and the most frequent country of origin was Bolivia. All T. cruzi infected patients were in chronic stages of infection. 19% of cases had cardiac disorders and 9% had digestive disorders.
A high percentage of participants in this study were infected by T. cruzi and various factors were found to be associated to the infection. It is important to improve clinical and epidemiological knowledge of T. cruzi infection in non-endemic countries and to develop appropriate screening and treatment protocols in these settings.
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ABSTRACT: Chagas disease, caused by Trypanosoma cruzi, is an important endemic illness in Latin America. Serologic tests for T. cruzi detection in blood are sensitive, but their specificity is unsatisfactory. Direct detection of parasites in blood, either by xenodiagnosis or hemoculture, is highly specific but of low sensitivity. Molecular assays such as the Polymerase chain reaction (PCR), which amplifies certain repetitive sequences of nuclear DNA has been used as a good alternative tool for T. cruzi detection in human blood. The present study aimed to test PCR diagnosis in chagasic chronic patients and doubtful serologic patients attended in GEDOCH (Chagas Disease Study Group/UNICAMP, Brazil). A 149 bp fragment originated from nuclear DNA was specifically detected in chronic chagasic patients. The results of these tests were compared with serologic diagnosis performed using standard techniques and xenodiagnosis. We found that 43 out of 50 patients previously serodiagnosed as chagasic were positive using the N-PCR method. Thirteen of 30 patients with doubtful serologic results were confirmed as positive by N-PCR. Our results suggest that the N-PCR may be a complementary tool to serology in the diagnosis of Chagas disease, and that it is usefull for parasite detection in patients with chronic disease and patients with doubtful serologic results.Diagnostic Microbiology and Infectious Disease 06/2002; 43(1):39-43. · 2.26 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Discovered in 1909, Chagas disease was progressively shown to be widespread throughout Latin America, affecting millions of rural people with a high impact on morbidity and mortality. With no vaccine or specific treatment available for large-scale public health interventions, the main control strategy relies on prevention of transmission, principally by eliminating the domestic insect vectors and control of transmission by blood transfusion. Vector control activities began in the 1940s, initially by means of housing improvement and then through insecticide spraying following successful field trials in Brazil (Bambui Research Centre), with similar results soon reproduced in São Paulo, Argentina, Venezuela and Chile. But national control programmes only began to be implemented after the 1970s, when technical questions were overcome and the scientific demonstration of the high social impact of Chagas disease was used to encourage political determination in favour of national campaigns (mainly in Brazil). Similarly, large-scale screening of infected blood donors in Latin America only began in the 1980s following the emergence of AIDS. By the end of the last century it became clear that continuous control in contiguous endemic areas could lead to the elimination of the most highly domestic vector populations - especially Triatoma infestans and Rhodnius prolixus - as well as substantial reductions of other widespread species such as T. brasiliensis, T. sordida, and T. dimidiata, leading in turn to interruption of disease transmission to rural people. The social impact of Chagas disease control can now be readily demonstrated by the disappearance of acute cases and of new infections in younger age groups, as well as progressive reductions of mortality and morbidity rates in controlled areas. In economic terms, the cost-benefit relationship between intervention (insecticide spraying, serology in blood banks) and the reduction of Chagas disease (in terms of medical and social care and improved productivity) is highly positive. Effective control of Chagas disease is now seen as an attainable goal that depends primarily on maintaining political will, so that the major constraints involve problems associated with the decentralisation of public health services and the progressive political disinterest in Chagas disease. Counterbalancing this are the political and technical cooperation strategies such as the "Southern Cone Initiative" launched in 1991. This international approach, coordinated by PAHO, has been highly successful, already reaching elimination of Chagas disease transmission in Uruguay, Chile, and large parts of Brazil and Argentina. The Southern Cone Initiative also helped to stimulate control campaigns in other countries of the region (Paraguay, Bolivia, Peru) which have also reached tangible regional successes. This model of international activity has been shown to be feasible and effective, with similar initiatives developed since 1997 in the Andean Region and in Central America. At present, Mexico and the Amazon Region remain as the next major challenges. With consolidation of operational programmes in all endemic countries, the future focus will be on epidemiological surveillance and care of those people already infected. In political terms, the control of Chagas disease in Latin America can be considered, so far, as a victory for international scientific cooperation, but will require continuing political commitment for sustained success.Memórias do Instituto Oswaldo Cruz 08/2002; 97(5):603-12. · 1.36 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: In May 2004, after launching a screening programme to detect Trypanosoma cruzi infection in the Latin American population, a case of congenital infection in a 2-year-old boy was discovered in Barcelona. Few cases of congenital transmission have been described in non-endemic areas and little is known about the epidemiological and clinical features of congenital Chagas disease in this context. The increase in Latin American immigrants in Europe and the USA requires greater epidemiological surveillance and appropriate diagnostic techniques for managing T. cruzi infections.Transactions of the Royal Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene 12/2007; 101(11):1161-2. · 1.82 Impact Factor