Chagas disease becoming the "AIDS of the Americas" - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Chagas disease becoming the "AIDS of the Americas"

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The little known Chagas disease is becoming "the new AIDS of the Americas," according to researchers.

They say the shares many similarities with AIDS; Chagas disease is caused by blood-sucking insects, is spread through blood, symptoms take a long time to develop or may in fact never show, but up to a quarter of infected carriers eventually develop potentially fatal enlarged hearts or intestines.

Chagas also has a long incubation time, and is hard or impossible to cure, and because it is a "disease of the poor," little money is spent on prevention or finding new treatments.

The disease infects up to 8 million people in the Americas, and while those sufferers are mainly located in Central America, South America, and Mexico; there are 300,000 people with the disease in the U.S. and the number of carriers is also rising in Europe through immigration from Latin America.