Divulgação, Notícias

Chagas disease: an unresolved issue

Despite not being as popular as malaria or cholera, Chagas Disease affects from six to seven million people, killing over 12,500 per year


Slow diagnosis and treatment could lead to death under the diseases acute form

IN 2006, Brazil was granted by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) with the International Elimination of Transmission of Chagas Disease Certificate. However, the picture has changed in the past years. In only seven months, the number of confirmed cases of the disease, only in Acre State, raised over 200% if compared to the reports in the entire year of 2015. In Pará, reports are also worrying. Between January and September 2016, 127 cases were confirmed, including two deaths in Bacarena, in the States northeast. Contaminated açaí (a regional palm fruit) is held as the main cause of transmission.

Professor, physician and researcher José Rodrigues Coura, currently one of the most important Chagas Disease experts, explains ingesting T. cruzi is very common and the clinical picture is usually severe and, sometimes, fatal. Slow diagnosis and treatment can lead to death under the acute form of the disease, he alerts. For him, Chagas disease surveillance and control in the Amazon should be encouraged to be faster and more effective, especially for diagnosis and treatment, overall in cases of the acute form. It is fundamental to train agents in all Health Units in the Amazon Region, for diagnosis and treatment, as it is with malaria, he adds. Doctor Coura says the consensus in this aspect should be increased.

The 2015 Brazilian Consensus on Chagas Disease is an important reference, while revising and updating its first edition contents, published in 2005. The elaboration was made possible by a cooperation between the Brazilian Society of Tropical Medicine (BSTM) and the Health Ministry, and counted with the participation Brazilian experts with vast experience. It is expected that this document can strengthen the development of integrated actions to combat the disease in the Country focused in epidemiology, management, integral attention (including families and communities), communication, information, education and researches.