31 May '12, 2pm

Chagas disease called 'the new HIV/AIDS of the Americas'

NOT A LOVE BUG: The assassin or kissing bug carries the parasite that causes Chagas disease. (Photo: Adrian Afonso/Flickr) The underreported and undertreated condition known as Chagas disease is a health threat similar to the early years of the HIV/AIDS pandemic, according to an editorial by doctors writing for the journal PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases . Chagas disease — which is mostly found in Latin America but also occurs in southern Texas — is most commonly transmitted by so-called "kissing bugs," a subfamily of blood-sucking insects also known as assassin bugs that like to target the lip region (hence the name). The bugs carry a parasite called Trypanosoma cruzi , which is what causes Chagas disease. The parasite is transmitted via the bugs' feces: the insects defecate while they are feeding, allowing the parasite to move on to its new host. The disease can also be...

Full article: http://www.mnn.com/health/fitness-well-being/stories/chag...

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