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Adoption - Agencies & Parents

Chagas disease is endemic throughout much of Mexico, Central America, and South America. Risk of Chagas disease varies by region within endemic countries. Although the risk of Chagas disease is likely low in adopted children from endemic countries, treatment of infected children is very effective.

Therefore adoption agencies and adoptive parents who are concerned about the risk to adopted children should consider the following:

  1. If the child's geographic history is known, then testing decisions can be made based on whether the child comes from an endemic area.
  2. If the child's geographic history is unknown, then testing may be appropriate based on the country of origin to determine whether the child may have Chagas disease. (See table below. )
  3. If it is determined that testing is appropriate, only children more than 1 year of age, should be tested, as children less than 12 months of age may have false-positive results due to maternal antibodies.

RegionEndemic countries
North AmericaMexico
Central AmericaBelize
Costa Rica
El Salvador
Honduras
Guatemala
Nicaragua
Panama
South AmericaArgentina
Bolivia
Brazil
Chile
Colombia
Ecuador
Guyana
Suriname
French Guiana
Paraguay
Peru
Uruguay
Venezuela
 
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