The causative agent of the disease is triatomic bugs. This parasite is found in tropical and subtropical climates. Trypanosome lives in the body of a bug throughout its life. After one or two weeks, the insect can transmit the parasite.
One way to catch this disease is a triatomic bug bite. During the bite, the insect injects an anesthetic into the body, so the person does not notice the bite. The insect remains on the body for 15-20 minutes.
The infection can enter the body in other ways:
- if it got with the feces of a triatomic bug with food;
- during a blood transfusion procedure;
- accidental contamination during laboratory tests.
In adults, the disease may be asymptomatic, but in children the symptoms are pronounced. They change over the course of the disease. At the initial stage, the following symptoms occur:
- nausea and diarrhea;
- swollen lymph nodes;
- swelling and redness of the bite;
- in 30-50% of cases, one eye swells.
After the bite, a blister forms and itching occurs. If the disease is not treated, then after 2 months it passes to the next stage – chronic. At this stage, the symptoms disappear. Life expectancy at this stage is 10-30 years, but the health of the infected is gradually deteriorating. Parasites enter all internal organs through the blood, affecting the heart, adrenal glands and liver.
Exposure to toxins leads to degenerative changes and inflammation. All this causes heart failure and subsequent death. External manifestations of Chagas disease are:
- shortness of breath;
- rapid fatigue;
- loss of appetite;
- blue lips and fingertips;
- pain in the heart, esophagus or rectum.
To protect yourself from the bite of a triatomite bug and, accordingly, from Chagas disease, the following measures should be taken:
- destroy bugs by treating buildings and yards with special insecticides;
- when visiting South American countries and other bug habitats, avoid old clay buildings. They are often inhabited by triatomic bugs;
- take precautions to avoid bug bites. For example, sleep with a special canopy over the bed;
- wash food thoroughly or heat it before eating;
- treat damaged areas with antiseptics;
- check the blood before transfusion or organ transplantation;
- be screened during pregnancy;
- when traveling to different countries, take extra precautions against insects. In particular, before leaving the city it is necessary to put on the longest possible trousers, footwear, and also a hat;
- try not to touch the nests and burrows of animals, do not turn stones.
If you suddenly get a bug bite, you should never scratch the bite site. It is necessary to treat the area with antiseptic. These bugs are considered one of the most dangerous insects in the world. Therefore, if you are bitten, you should see a doctor immediately and start treatment (Abarax or Radanil).