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Chagas outbreak in northern Brazil possibly linked to food served at party

The Health Surveillance Coordination (CVS) of Amapá and the Municipal Health Secretariat (Semsa) are investigating a Chagas disease outbreak that has affected at least ten people in the Rural Zone of Macapá, according to a G1 Globo report (computer translated).

Kissing bug next to penny
Image/Rachel Curtis-Hamer Labs

The report notes that 10 people have been confirmed with Chagas’ disease since Dec 5 and another nine had symptoms and are awaiting results. Among those infected are men, women and children, according to the state coordinator of Health Surveillance, Clóvis Miranda. The patients are being treated.

The outbreak considered isolated happened after a family party in October and health officials suspect foodborne transmission of the parasitic infection. “All the food that was consumed, the açaí, the rice, the meat, everything there was to be investigated, will be investigated for us to detect. On Monday we will be sending a team of our surveillance to make a site screening and an investigation of food that may have been consumed with traps to find out where this contamination came from, “said Macapá Health Secretary, Silvana Vedovelli.

According to CVS, in 2016, the Amapá accounts for 247 reported cases, with 7 confirmations, apart from the recent cases recorded in December. The last recorded outbreak was in 2010, with 20 cases in Macapá.

According to the World Health Organization(WHO), Chagas disease, also known as American trypanosomiasis, is a potentially life-threatening illness caused by the protozoan parasite, Trypanosoma cruzi (T. cruzi). It is found mainly in endemic areas of 21 Latin American countries.

About 7 million to 8 million people worldwide are estimated to be infected with the parasite.

T. cruzi parasites are mainly transmitted by the infected feces of blood-sucking triatomine bugs, or kissing bugs. In addition, the parasite can be transmitted via food contaminated with T. cruzi through for example the contact with triatomine bug feces, blood transfusions using blood from infected donors, passage from an infected mother to her newborn during pregnancy or childbirth, organ transplants using organs from infected donors and laboratory accidents.

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