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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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Chagas Disease from Organ Transplant

  • 64 year-old man diagnosed with idiopathic cardiomyopathy received a heart transplant in 2006
  • One month later he had fever, anorexia and diarrhea
  • Blood smear revealed T. cruzi and endomyocardial biopsy demonstrated amastigotes
  • He had no risk factors for Chaga's disease and died 3 months after transplantation from organ rejection
  • Traceback of the blood donors were negative but the heart donor tested positive by serology
  • Donor was born in the U.S. but traveled to an endemic area of Mexico
  • Recipients of other organs from this donor were negative for T. cruzi
  • Clinical course in immunosuppressed patients is frequently rapidly progressive and life threatening