The Kiss of Death: Chagas' Disease in the Americas

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Biology of Chagas' Disease

Chagas' disease is caused by Trypanosoma cruzi (T. cruzi) after it invades warm-blooded mammals (humans and animals) and colonizes tissues of nerve cells. T. cruzi is a protozoa parasite, overview of the biology of Chagas' disease a pathogen that causes injury to an organ which it colonizes, greatly enlarging it, by denervating its nerve and muscle tissues. This enlargement of organs is referred to as the megasyndrome. Chagas' disease often goes undiagnosed because its symptoms are associated with heart disease, volulus, achlasia, and constipation. Laboratory tests are necessary to detect the presence of T. cruzi. Tests are unavailable in many places in Latin America and the United States. Because of possible contamination through blood transfusions, Chagas' disease has spread to Europe and North America, and it is important that people who exhibit symptoms related to chagas be tested for Chagas' disease.

T. cruzi is related to Trypanosoma brucei gambiense, which causes African sleeping sickness. American trypanosomiasis is chagas' official name to distinguish it from African trypanosomiasis (Sleeping Sickness).

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