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Chagas' disease,disease of South and Central America caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. It usually affects children and young adults and is transmitted by the feces of infected insects, typically the assassin bugassassin bug,
common name for members of the family Reduviidae, one of the largest and most varied groups belonging to the order Hemiptera (suborder Heteroptera). Assassin bugs are generally brownish to black, medium-sized to large insects, with heads that are elongate and
..... Click the link for more information. . Most of those infected have mild symptoms, such as fever and swelling and redness around the eyes, but from 10% to 30% develop chronic disease that may result in serious or fatal inflammation of the brain and heart tissues; persons with the disease also have an increased risk for stroke as they age as a result of heart problems. There is no vaccine; antiparasitic drugs are used to treat the disease, but are not always effective and cannot cure the chronic disease. The incidence of Chagas' disease in the United States has increased since the 1970s, possibly because of increased immigration from Mexico and Central America, where the incidence is very high. In immunosuppressed patients (see AIDSAIDS
or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome,
fatal disease caused by a rapidly mutating retrovirus that attacks the immune system and leaves the victim vulnerable to infections, malignancies, and neurological disorders. It was first recognized as a disease in 1981.
..... Click the link for more information. ) Chagas' disease can form a mass in the cranial cavity that mimics a tumor, presumably because the lymphocytes that guard against the parasite are the same that are depleted by the AIDS virus. See also trypanosometrypanosome
, microscopic, one-celled protozoan of the genus Trypanosoma, typically living as an active parasite in the bloodstream of a vertebrate; hundreds of species are known. A trypanosome is long and pointed and possesses a flagellum.
..... Click the link for more information. .
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Chagas' disease[′shäg·əs di‚zēz]
An acute and chronic protozoan disease of humans caused by the hemoflagellate Trypanosoma (Schizotrypanum) cruzi. Also known as South American trypanosomiasis.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.