World Chagas Disease Day 2023
Every year on April 14th, World Chagas Disease Day is observed to raise awareness about a life-threatening illness that can cause severe heart and digestive problems. The disease, also known as American trypanosomiasis, silent disease, or silenced disease, is caused by the Trypanosoma cruzi parasite, which is transmitted to humans by the triatomine bug, commonly known as the kissing bug. The disease primarily affects individuals living in rural areas with poor hygiene conditions, particularly those who are impoverished. It is more common in regions like Central America, Mexico, and South America.
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Chagas disease, also known as “silent or silenced disease”, affects mainly poor people without access to health care or people without a political voice. The disease progresses slowly and often shows an asymptomatic clinical course. Without treatment, Chagas disease can lead to severe cardiac and digestive alterations and become fatal. Raising awareness of the disease is essential to improve the rates of early treatment and cure, together with the interruption of its transmission.
World Chagas Disease Day 2023: Theme
The theme for 2023 is Time to integrate Chagas disease into primary health care, so that universal care and surveillance start at the most decentralized level of the health system.
World Chagas Disease Day: Significance
Chagas disease can be transmitted to humans through various means such as consuming contaminated food, blood transfusion, or coming into contact with infected wild animals. If left untreated, it can lead to severe heart and digestive problems that may result in death. In recent years, the disease has been detected in various countries outside its traditional regions, such as Canada, the United States, Europe, and the Western Pacific. Therefore, it is crucial to create awareness about the disease and encourage people to take preventive measures.
World Chagas Disease Day: History
World Chagas Disease Day was established in 2020 to increase awareness and visibility of people affected by the disease. The date, April 14, was selected because it marks the anniversary of the first reported case of Chagas disease in a human, which occurred in 1909. The patient, a Brazilian girl named Berenice Soares de Moura, was diagnosed with the disease by Dr. Carlos Ribeiro Justiniano Chagas, after whom the disease is named. The disease is often referred to as the “silent disease” due to its slow progression and frequently asymptomatic clinical course.
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