Trypanosoma cruzi

 

American Trypanosomiasis, commonly known as Chagas’ disease, presents one of the highest disease burdens in Latin America. Approximately 16-18 million people are currently infected, 50,000 of which die each year. The social and economic impact of morbidity is substantial. Chagas’ disease is caused by infection with the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, which is transmitted to humans primarily through contact with the vector, though contaminated blood transfusions and congenital transmission also contribute. There are currently no good drugs available to treat Chagas’ disease, so elimination efforts primarily involve vector control and blood screening to prevent new infections. Eradication of the disease is unlikely due to its large animal reservoir, but public health initiatives focusing on vector control and blood screening have greatly decreased Chagas’ incidence over the past fifteen years.

 

Trypanosoma cruzi parasite. Picture courtesy of Virginia Commonwealth University: Virtual Parasite Project. http://www.vcu.edu/csbc/vpp/parasites_tcruzi.html
Carlos Chagas. Photo courtesy of University of Texas Arlington. http://www.uta.edu/chagas/html/histCarl.html

 

 

Contact Information
 

Jeremy Schneider

Class of 2007

Claire Nordeen
Class of 2007

Stanford University
Parasites & Pestilence: Infectious Public Health Challenges
Professor D. Scott Smith, ssmith@stanford.edu