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Chronic Chagas Disease

  • 20-40% of infected persons develop chronic debilitating disease 10-40 years after infection
  • When the parasite reemerges from the dormant state, it usually lodges in the heart causing serious and irreversible damage (cardiomegaly)
  • Chagas disease is the leading cause of heart disease in South America
  • Rhythm abnormalities can cause sudden death and a dilated heart cannot pump blood well
  • Those who die usually have congestive heart failure
  • Mega esophagus and mega colon may occur causing problems digesting food and weight loss
Tissue from Infected Cardiac Muscle
CDC/ Dr. L.L. Moore, Jr.