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The page below is a sample from the LabCE course Parasitology Case Studies: Protozoa in Blood (by ASCLS). Access the complete course and earn ASCLS P.A.C.E.-approved continuing education credits by subscribing online.

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Case 5 More History

  • Patient had taken 5 trips to Mexico from 1970-1998 but all were less than 2 weeks in tourist hotels
  • Her only symptom was fatigue
  • She had not used IV drugs or had either a blood transfusion or organ transplant
  • The patient was not the daughter of Latin American immigrants
  • She had resided on 8 forested acres near New Orleans for 29 years
  • Her home was infected with Triatoma sanquisuga and when the dead bugs were tested by PCR, they were positive for Trypanosoma cruzi
  • Armadillo population known to carry the trypanosomes was increased on her property
  • Her night gown was smeared with blood and feces from the bugs
  • 4 weeks after being bitten she was positive for antibodies to T. cruzi by indirect immunofluorescence (titer 1:128)
  • Hemoculture in macrophages was positive in blood drawn 4 months after being bitten
  • The trypanosomes were confirmed as T. cruzi by molecular amplification of a specific 24Sa rRNA target
  • Patient decided against treatment
CDC/ Dr. A.J. Sulzer
Cell culture of T. cruzi