The kissing bug disease has two phases, in which symptoms are mild in the first one. Symptoms of the kissing bug include rash, fatigue, fever or any other flu like symptoms. At the place where the parasite enters the body, a sore is formed. Besides this the person experiences appetite loss, diarrhea and vomiting. If the parasite enters through the eyes, the condition is called Romana’s sign and the person develops swollen eyelids. If these early symptoms happen at all, they fade away on their own in a few months or weeks, usually. People or children with a weak immune system are in real danger. The parasite remains inside the body for years and decades, even if symptoms go away.
In the chronic phase or second phase of the disease, the person could experience intestinal and heart issues like sudden cardiac arrest, heart failure, enlarged colon, esophagus or heart or could cause blood clotting.
Is Chagas Disease Contagious?
During casual contact, Chagas disease is not contagious. However by contact with tissues, the parasite could get transmitted into the blood by kissing bugs also called the triatomine bugs.
If carnivores eat tissues contaminated with Trypanosoma Cruzi called as T.Cruzi, then they can get infected as well. Dogs and other animal species serve as amplifying hosts and can infect the insect vectors.
What Is Chagas Disease?
Chagas disease infects millions of people across mainly in Latin America. However recently, cases have been popping up in other parts of America as well. The disease is caused by a parasite known as T.Cruzi or Trypanosoma Cruzi. Kissing bugs called as Triatomine bugs, spread the Chagas disease. These bugs often make painless bites on people when they are sleeping, on thin skin around the mouth and eyes. The bug with its poop or feces infects the person or animal which in turn becomes carrier of the parasite and passes it through its feces. The other few ways in which the parasite is transmitted is through organ transplant or blood transfusion from an infected person, transmission of disease by the infected pregnant mother to her baby in the womb or but consuming uncooked food or meat contaminated with the parasite.
Is There A Cure For Chagas Disease?
During the first phase of the Chagas disease, the treatment is the easiest. However spotting the disease earlier on is tough, due to lack of symptoms. If there is any doubt about a person getting the disease, the doctor does blood tests to check out infection. Heart problems if any are checked by doing an EKG test. Nifurtimox and Benznidazole are two drugs used in the killing the parasite causing Chagas disease. If administered soon after the infection, the drugs work well. The drugs are less likely to work if the person has had the disease for a longer time. Infected newborns can take the medication but not pregnant women. The drugs have to be taken for 2 months at least and in older people it could cause serious side effects. Avoiding Kissing Bugs is the best way to prevent the disease. There is no vaccine for the Chagas disease.