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,
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.
is related to Trypanosoma brucei gambiense, which causes
African sleeping sickness. American trypanosomiasis is chagas'
official name to distinguish it from African trypanosomiasis