Belmopan - 23 September, 2009
Belmopan, September 23, 2009. The Ministry of Health in collaboration with the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) is hosting a two day workshop to discuss Chagas Disease, its Clinical Management and Epidemiological features at the Belize Biltmore Plaza on September 23 and 24, 2009.
The workshop entitled “Clinical Management of Chagas Disease” aims to improve the prognosis and quality of life of those diagnosed with Chagas Disease. During the course of the two days, participants will be updated on current treatment practices and will develop a guide for the management of cases in the country.
The workshop is being facilitated by Professor Alejandro Luguetti a world renowned Chagas expert. Participants include health care providers from both public and private institutions countrywide.
Chagas disease is found only in Latin America. It is named after Carlos Chagas, a Brazilian doctor who first described the disease in 1909. He also described the life-cycle of the parasite, identified the insects that transmit the parasite, identified small mammals that act as reservoir hosts, and suggested means to help prevent its transmission.
Risk factors for Chagas disease include:
• Living in a hut where reduvid bugs, also known as the kissing bug, live in the walls
• Living in Central or South America
• Poor housing conditions
• Receiving a blood transfusion from a person who carries the parasite but does not have active Chagas disease
Chagas disease has two phases acute and chronic. The acute phase may have no symptoms or very mild symptoms. Symptoms include:
• General ill feeling
• Swelling of one eye
• Swollen red area at site of insect bite
After the acute phase the disease goes into remission. No other symptoms may appear for many years. When symptoms finally develop, they may include:
• Digestive problems
• Pain in the abdomen
• Swallowing difficulties
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