- Jul 10 8:38 AMHere is the abstract of an article on the history of Chagas Disease. It
is endemic in many parts of Latin America (including Costa Rica), and
through migration has spread to other countries. There are an estimated
300,000 infected in the U.S.
Skip the detailed stuff in the full article, but read the actual history
and current situation in the full article (PDF format) available at the
The ancestor of Trypanosome cruzi was probably introduced to South
American via bats approximately 7-10 million years ago. When the first
humans arrived in the New World, a sylvatic cycle of Chagas disease was
then already well established. Paleoparasitological data suggests that
human American trypanosomiasis originated in the Andean area when people
founded the first settlements in the coastal region of the Atacama
Desert. Identification of T. cruzi as the etiological agent and triatome
bugs as the transmission vector of Chagas disease occurred within a few
years at the beginning of the 20th century. History also teaches us that
human activity leading to environmental changes, in particular
deforestation, is the main cause for the spread of Chagas disease.
Recently, migration of T. cruzi-infected patients has led to a
distribution of Chagas disease from Latin America to non-endemic
countries in Europe, North America and western Pacific region.
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