Chagas disease, also known as American trypanosomiasis, results from infection by the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi, and is a major cause of cardiac disease worldwide. Until recently, Chagas disease was confined to those areas of South and Central America where Trypanosoma cruzi is endemic. With the migration of infected individuals, however, the disease has spread, and it is estimated that 6-7 million people worldwide are infected. In the US alone, more than 7 million people from Trypanosoma cruzi-endemic countries became legal US residents by the turn of the century, resulting in a surge of Chagas disease in this country. According to preliminary estimates, the US now ranks seventh in the Western Hemisphere in number of individuals infected with Trypanosoma cruzi, and the disease has become a major public health concern due to limited awareness in the medical community.
- Heart disease
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