Health experts urge more awareness of Chagas disease

The Los Angeles Times reports, “Chagas affects an estimated 300,000 people in this country and about 13 million worldwide, chiefly in Latin America, where it is a leading cause of heart failure.”

The Times says, “No one is predicting an epidemic in this country, but disease experts are trying to increase awareness, testing and treatment of Chagas, which can affect sizable swaths of the population, particularly in states like California, with a large Latin American immigrant population.”

The Times adds that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention offers free drugs to treat Chagas, “but they receive just 50 or 60 requests a year for the medications, suggesting that thousands of cases go untreated.”

Meanwhile, MedPage Today reports, “A Virginia boy born almost a year ago is the first case of congenital Chagas disease reported in the US, according to the CDC” in a new report.

MedPage Today adds that “the boy was delivered by cesarean section at 29 weeks gestation in August 2010 after he was found to have fetal hydrops, the accumulation of fluid in at least two fetal compartments, the agency reported in the July 6 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.”

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