Home Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs) World Chagas Disease Day: Comprehensive, equitable health care services for all people affected by Chagas Disease

World Chagas Disease Day: Comprehensive, equitable health care services for all people affected by Chagas Disease

by Public Health Update

Comprehensive, equitable health care services for all people affected by Chagas Disease

Overview

The first  World Chagas Disease Day was observed on 14 April 2020. The aim of this day is to raise the visibility and public awareness of people with Chagas Disease and the resources needed for the prevention, control or elimination of the disease.The World Chagas Disease Day was initiated by the International Federation of Associations of People Affected by Chagas Disease. On 24 May 2019, the World Health Assembly – WHO’s decision-making body – endorsed the proposal, which  was supported by several health institutions, universities, research centres, national or international nongovernmental platforms, organizations and foundations.

Did you know?

  • Chagas disease is prevalent mainly among poor populations of continental Latin America and affects 6–7 million people.
  • 6–7 million infected, worldwide 
  • Approximately 10,000 disease-related deaths, every year
  • 75 million people risk acquiring the disease
  • During the past decades, it has been increasingly detected in the United States of America and Canada and in many European and some Western Pacific countries.
  • The disease can be transmitted by vectorial transmission (T. cruzi parasites are mainly transmitted by contact with faeces/urine of infected blood-sucking triatomine bugs. These bugs, vectors that carry the parasites, typically live in the wall or roof cracks of poorly-constructed homes in rural or suburban areas. Normally they hide during the day and become active at night when they feed on human blood. They usually bite an exposed area of skin such as the face, and the bug defecates close to the bite. The parasites enter the body when the person instinctively smears the bug faeces or urine into the bite, the eyes, the mouth, or into any skin break) contaminated food, transfusion of blood or blood products, passage from an infected mother to her newborn, and organ transplantation and even laboratory accidents.
  • Without treatment, Chagas disease can lead to severe cardiac and digestive alterations and become fatal.

Call for action

  • Chagas disease is often not diagnosed or diagnosed at a late stage. If you live in or have travelled to an area at risk of Chagas disease transmission, or if you have any symptom, see your doctor. 
  • To prevent infection, protect yourself and your home from the insects known as kissing bugs, among many other local names, or Triatomine bugs.
  • Be considerate and kind towards the people who are infected. 

Health workers and health partners

  • Chagas disease patients need equal access to diagnosis, safe treatment and care.
  • Increased global efforts to raise awareness of the consequences, suffering, disability and death associated with Chagas disease.

 Call for action

  • Early diagnosis and treatment can save lives.
  • Chagas disease patients comprise risk groups that can present severe forms of COVID-19 and should be prioritized for vaccination
  • Effective control measures can eliminate domiciliary vector-borne, oral, transfusional, organ transplantation and congenital transmissions.

Decision makers and donors

  • It is estimated that over 10 000 people die every year from clinical manifestations of Chagas disease, and about 75 million people are at risk of acquiring the disease. Chagas disease results in a heavy and long burden for families, communities, health systems, economy, etc. To beat Chagas disease, it is crucial to achieve universal health coverage. 

 Call for action

  • Countries should increase capacity and resources to invest in diagnosis, control, prevention, surveillance, treatment and clinical care.
  • Chagas disease patients should be prioritized for the COVID-19 vaccination.

 Academia and researchers

Call for action

  • More research is needed for effective prevention measures and cost–effective interventions, including screening (blood, newborns and children, etc.), early case detection, prompt, accessible treatment of cases, vector control, hygiene and food safety.

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