The Kiss of Death: Chagas' Disease in the Amedricas

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The Prevention of Chagas'

There are many facets to the spread of Chagas' disease. The bite of infected vinchucas (T. infestans) is one factor but vinchucas infest houses because of external precipitating factors, such as poverty, migration, and environmental destruction. Andeans link its spread to to the fact that people no longer consider earth as sacred.

Corporate farms and timbering cause millions of acres of forests to disappear man's poor relationship with the earth is the major reason why T. cruzi colonizes in human tissue in the Americas. Deforestation reduces natural habitats for animals and insects so vinchucas become domiciary. Peasants lose land, so they move to the cities, often introducing vinchucas and T. cruzi to previously non-endemic areas. Chagas' disease is found in New York, Washington, Los Angeles, and other cities in the U.S. and Europe. Resources given to the fight of chagas are often inadequate due to domestic and international political climates. International and national health policies have often considered chagas a low priority. They have not allocated necessary resources to prevent it, even though it is considered the number one obstacle to development in many countries.

Chagas' disease is similar to other parasitic and tropical diseases that affect poor people in the Americas, Africa, and Asia. These people have been inured to the socio-economic conditions brought about by a political economy that unjustly treats them. Not only does T. cruzi establish a destructive parasitic relationship in their bodies, but also land owners, politicians, and industrialists place peasants in an exploitive/parasitic relationship. Because peasants are ignorant of the connection between Chagas' disease and socio-economic causes, efforts are needed to educate them on how to halt this victimization. Below are some of the ways this is being done.

See the social and cultural issues of Chagas' How some societies use ethnomedicine See how its become such a menace The biology of the disease Do you have Chagas' disease