By NewsDesk  @bactiman63

Wednesday was World Chagas Disease Day and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) discussed in a press release a number of data of the parasitic disease in the Americas.

Triatoma pallidipennis
Image/James Gathany (CDC)

One of the numbers was concerning mother-to-child transmission. The UN health agency stated: About 8,000 babies are born with Chagas every year. It is estimated that more than a million women of childbearing age might be infected in the Region and unknowingly at risk of transmitting the infection to their newborns.

“The transmission of Chagas disease from mother to child can be prevented and, if detected in time, it can be cured,” said PAHO Director Etienne. “We must redouble our efforts so that all children in the region are free of the disease.”

PAHO is working with countries to strengthen maternal and child health care systems so they can routinely detect and treat Chagas, while simultaneously diagnosing and treating HIV, syphilis, and hepatitis B, thus eliminating mother-child transmission of these four diseases.

These efforts are part of a PAHO initiative aimed at eliminating Chagas, along with more than 30 infectious diseases and other conditions, by 2030.

In addition to Chagas disease mother-to-child transmission, officials offered the following numbers:

  • The disease is endemic to 21 countries of the Region.
  • 17 countries have interrupted vector transmission.
  • Approximately 75 million people in the Region are at risk of contracting the disease.
  • 6 to 8 million people are infected.
  • 7 out of 10 people are unaware of their condition.
  • There are an estimated 30,000 new cases per year, resulting from the various forms of transmission.

Chagas in Black and White

  • More than 10,000 people die each year due to clinical complications of the disease.
  • Between 2 and 8% of pregnant women with Chagas can pass it on to their babies.
  • Chagas is almost 100% curable if treated in its initial acute stage.
  • Only 1% of those infected are treated annually due to the silent clinical presence or ambiguous symptomatic expression of the disease.
  • .2% is the average prevalence of blood bank donors detected with Chagas disease in Latin America.