The parasite Trypanosoma cruzi can be transmitted to animals and humans through insects. This parasite can cause a person to develop Chagas disease. This disease is only found within the Americas. It is mainly found in the rural areas located in Latin America as this is where poverty is very widespread. Chagas disease is also called American trypanosomiasis. There are likely around 8 million people throughout Central and South America and Mexico who have this disease.
Most of these people do not even know that they are infected with this parasite. If the disease is not treated, the infection can last throughout life and can become life-threatening. Chagas disease is not limited to only the rural parts of Latin America.
It has been found in the United States as well as other areas. It is not currently endemic in these areas. It is important to know the symptoms of Chagas disease, especially if you have traveled to an area where it is prevalent.
1. Romana Sign
Romana’s sign refers to when a child’s eyelid becomes swollen. This is one of the markers that the child has developed acute Chagas disease. The swelling that occurs around the area of the eye is caused by the Trypanosoma cruzi parasite infecting an area near the eye, typically it is on the eyelid. This often occurs as a child accidentally rubs bug feces in or near the eye. It may also occur if the bite from the insect that was infected is located on the same side of the face as to where the swelling is located.
The development of this rash around the eye is one of the most common symptoms of this disease. Often, a child may not have any other symptoms aside from this mark. However, if this is left untreated, the parasite can spread throughout the body and cause a host of other health ailments. Treating Chagas disease right away is very important.