Chagas Disease (also known as American trypanosomiasis) is caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi. T. cruzi is transmitted to animals and people by insect vectors called triatomine bugs (“kissing bugs”) which are only found in the Americas, mainly in rural Latin America. In Mexico, Central American and South America, it is estimated that as many as 8 million people have Chagas Disease, most of whom do not know they are infected. In areas where there is low risk of naturally occurring transmission through these insect vectors, including in the United States, people can still become infected through blood transfusion, congenital transmission (from a pregnant woman to her baby), organ transplantation, or accidental laboratory exposure.
Chagas Disease is NOT reportable in Orange County. However, health care providers may contact OCHCA Epidemiology at 714-834-8180 for assistance in coordination of testing for patients and family members who may have had similar vector exposure or potential blood/organ/congenital transmission from a Chagas case.
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