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300,000 people in U.S. living with chagas disease

8th July 2012 | 2.030 Views
Washington (ANTARA News/Xinhua) - As many as 300,000 people in the United States may have chronic Chagas disease, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Friday.

In its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the CDC said most people with Chagas disease in the United States are immigrants from areas in Latin America, where the disease is endemic.

According to the CDC, the first confirmed U.S. case of transmission from a mother to a newborn was recently documented. It estimated that between 65 and 638 cases of congenital Chagas disease occur in the United States each year.

That estimate is based on the typical birth rates of women from regions where Chagas disease is endemic, and the fact that in about one to five percent of pregnancies of infected mothers, the disease is transmitted to the child.

Chagas disease is caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, which is typically transmitted to people by bites from insects commonly called kissing bugs. The disease occurs mainly in Latin America, but cases in the United States and elsewhere have been increasing, mostly due to migration, according to the World Health Organization.