Officials with the Universidad Central de Venezuela reported to ProMed Mail late last week (computer translated) of a family of three from Yaguapita, Miranda state in northern Venezuela who contracted the parasitic disease, Chagas disease.

The Triatoma or “kissing” bug. Image/CDC
The Triatoma or “kissing” bug.

Experts believe the three individuals contracted the disease through oral transmission.

The patients presented with generalized edema and general symptoms such as fatigue, chest pain, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, arthralgia, myalgia, rash fever syndrome after four weeks. They were admitted to Hospital “Jesus Yerena” Lidice in Caracas with two of the patients with pericardial effusion.

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. 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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