Chagas disease – american trypanosomiasis
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Institute of Iberian and Latin American Studies, Faculty of Modern Languages, University of Warsaw, Poland
Medical Academy, Lithuanian University of Health Sciences, Kaunas, Lithuania
Centro de Rehabilitación, Guadalajara, Mexico
Submission date: 2011-01-07
Acceptance date: 2011-02-07
Online publication date: 2012-12-01
Publication date: 2023-03-12
Corresponding author
Alicja Kowalska
Instytut Studiów Iberyjskich i Iberoamerykańskich, Wydział Neofilologii, Uniwersytet Warszawski, ul. Oboźna 8, 00-927 Warszawa, Polska; phone: +48 501 262 316, e-mail:
Pol. Ann. Med. 2011;18(1):156–167
Introduction. Despite the fact that more than 100 years have passed since the discovery of Chagas disease, research carried out to date with respect to this condition and especially treatment methods concerning it, are still deemed insufficient. The World Health Organization (WHO) recognizes it as one of the Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD), occurring primarily in the most destitute regions. Aim. This work aimed at drawing the attention to the relationship between the levels of interest presented by medical and pharmaceutical circles in American trypanosomiasis and the types of social groups that this disease affects. Materials and Methods. Available literature concerning this subject, as well as estimates indicating the scale of this problem have been analyzed. Discussion. American trypanosomiasis is a tropical parasitic disease affecting predominantly the residents of both Americas. Chagas disease is associated mostly with the marginalized social strata, due to a special predilection of Triatominae vectors for residing in poor households. All insects belonging to the subfamily Triatominae feed on vertebrate blood and thereby transmit the parasite called Trypanosoma cruzi. In the disease’s course, three key phases may be differentiated: acute, latent and chronic. In the majority of cases, the first two phases are asymptomatic, significantly inhibiting detection of the disease. Despite advances with respect to curtailing vector transmission, research concerning effective treatment of Chagas disease remains insufficient. There are only two types of obsolete medications to treat it. Their availability is limited and production continues unstable, whereas their administration is associated with serious side effects and their effectiveness is quite limited. Conclusions. Although vector transmission has been to a significant degree controlled, lack of effective medication which could serve to treat this disease indicates a failure with respect to health policies adopted by endemic countries. American trypanosomiasis, tropical in nature, should become an object of interest for highly developed countries in the near future, because of the increasing migrations concerning infected groups of people.