World Chagas Disease Day – April 14, 2020

kissing bug

A CDC entomologist holds a triatomine bug, or “kissing bug”, the insect that can transmit the parasite that causes Chagas disease.

The first-ever World Chagas Day is April 14. On this day, we bring awareness to this neglected disease of the Americas.

Chagas disease is named for Dr. Carlos Chagas, who discovered it more than 100 years ago. Caused by the Trypanosoma cruzi parasite, Chagas disease affects 6–7 million people worldwide and an estimated 300,000 in the United States.

Efforts to control Chagas disease by reducing the number of new infections have been successful, but some challenges remain. T. cruzi infections are transmitted by a vector (from infected triatomine bugs, also known as “kissing bugs”) and through blood transfusion, organ transplantation, or congenital (mother-to-baby) transmission. In Latin American countries where the parasite exists, elimination of triatomine bugs that have adapted to living in people’s homes has been largely successful; and blood donor screening to prevent transfusion transmission is established where people at risk for Chagas disease may live.

One of the remaining challenges is preventing congenital Chagas disease in babies born to chronically infected mothers. While prevention of new infections is critically important, we must also work to ensure that the millions of people already chronically infected and at risk for developing debilitating or fatal cardiac disease receive timely diagnosis and treatment.

CDC Commemorates World Chagas Disease Day

Today, CDC joins partners around the world in raising awareness about Chagas disease. Please share our World Chagas Disease Day features:

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Page last reviewed: April 14, 2020