WHO Urges Early Detection for Better Health on World Chagas Disease Day

New Delhi, April 14 (IANS) Early detection of Chagas disease, responsible for 12,000 deaths every year, may help cure and promote better health, World Health Organisation chief Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said on World Chagas Disease Day observed on Sunday. World Chagas Disease Day raises awareness about the infectious disease caused by a protozoan parasite (Trypanosoma cruzi).

“The World Chagas Disease Day is a reminder that in Latin America and elsewhere in the world, many people with this terrible disease go undiagnosed and untreated,” the WHO Director-General said in a video message posted online.

Chagas disease has been reported in 44 countries. But only six have systems to monitor cases and transmission with early diagnosis, lifelong follow-up, and care when needed. Trypanosoma infects about 6-7 million people worldwide and can be spread through various means, including bug bites, food, pregnancy, birth, blood products, organ transplantation, and laboratory accidents.

The disease is often asymptomatic, earning it the nickname “silent and silenced disease.” However, it can lead to serious complications like heart and intestinal tract problems, making early detection crucial. While the disease is curable if treated promptly, blood screening plays a significant role in identifying infected individuals and providing care.

“People with Chagas disease can live healthy and productive lives. Screening communities at risk of Chagas disease can identify those infected and ensure they receive care as soon as possible,” the WHO chief emphasized on the importance of early diagnosis and treatment.


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