Beware of ‘kissing bug,’ experts warn

November 5, 2014 3:46 PM

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At the 2014 American Society of Tropical Medicine & Hygiene Annual Meeting, a group from Baylor College of Medicine presented a study indicating that there was a growing public health threat in the U.S. in the form of Chagas disease. The research looked at blood donors in Houston, TX, finding a growing number of tests screening positive for the disease. In addition, of those that screened positive, 41 percent also showed signs of heart disease related to Chagas disease. Of particular public health concern is the estimation that 36 percent of positive cases were locally acquired.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Chagas disease is also known as American trypanosomiasis and is a potentially life-threatening illness caused by a protozoan parasite. Chagas disease is largely unknown in the U.S., but is mainly endemic to 21 Latin American countries. About 7 mill...

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