NewsDesk @bactiman63

World Chagas Disease Day is today, April 14.

Agencia Brasilia announced: In recent years there have been no records of acute infection of the disease in the Federal District (DF); however, health authorities have not stopped working to control it.

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

The manager of Communicable Disease Surveillance (GVDT/Divep), Kenia Oliveira, highlights that health authorities remain in “constant surveillance of cases in humans with exposure to these infected insects”.

In the last three years, the Environmental Surveillance Directorate (Dival), responsible for controlling vectors of endemic diseases and venomous animals, captured 931 triatomine bugs, 204 last year, 607 in 2020 and 120 in 2019. Of the 931 insects captured between 2019 and 2021, only 46 were contaminated with the protozoan that causes Chagas disease.

Officials say anyone who finds a triatomine bug can capture it carefully, avoiding direct contact, and take it to one of the triatomine information posts (PITs) spread throughout the DF.

When displacement is not possible, Dival’s servers can also go to the place where the suspected insect was found. The service is from Monday to Friday, from 8 am to 5 pm, except holidays and weekends. If there is confirmation that it is a triatomine bug, control measures are activated.

Once confirmed that the insect found is a triatomine, a Dival team carries out a thorough inspection and spraying to prevent the insect from installing itself in the residence. When the insect is located in one of the internal rooms of the property, all residents are submitted to serological analysis to rule out any possibility of transmission by the contaminated vector.

Chagas infection occurs as follows: the insect can carry the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi , which causes the disease, in its feces. The insect releases the waste on the human’s skin while sucking the blood. The person then feels itchy, takes the hand to the bite site and ends up making contact with the feces of the skin, contaminating the bloodstream.

Transmission can also occur from mother to child during pregnancy. Therefore, GVDT also monitors pregnant women. “But so far we have no notifications of acute cases of the disease”, says Kenia Oliveira.