Published on May 31st, 2012 | by Kim LaCapria0
Chagas Disease is The New AIDS, Experts Warn
Ever hear of Chagas Disease?
Likely not, but some experts call Chagas “the most important disease you have never heard about,” which clearly sounds like a terrifying thing. The insect-borne pathogen was likened to being in recent years as the HIV/AIDS pandemic was in its first years, and authors of a study published this week in the medical journal PLoS wrote:
“Endemic Chagas disease has emerged as an important health disparity in the Americas… As a result, we face a situation in both Latin America and the US that bears a resemblance to the early years of the HIV/AIDS pandemic.”
But while AIDS was marked by drugs and sex-related transmission, Chagas Disease doesn’t have the same behavior-related connotations. However, the long-term implications are still serious and potentially deadly- author of the PLoS editorial Dr. Peter Hotez explains:
“The problem is once the heart symptoms start, which is the most dreaded complication, the Chagas cardiomyopathy, the medicines no longer work very well.”
Chagas Disease, which has been targeted by the CDC for an upcoming awareness campaign, can remain dormant in humans for more than 30 years.