The data from the Chagas Program show that in this first half of the year, 10 children were born with the disease. Likewise, they warn that in adults only 12% of those infected follow the treatment
To complete the first semester of the 2022 administration, the Departmental Health Service (Headquarters) has carried out an evaluation of the positive cases of Chagas disease in the department of Tarija. However, they warn of a high prevalence in pregnant people, since of every 10 pregnant women, 2 are usually carriers of the disease, according to an El Pais report.
Kissing bugs are the vector of Chagas disease
Image/Rachel Curtis–Hamer Labs
The data for Chagas in adults, that is, those older than 15 years, are similar, the prevalence is close to 20%. However, in congenital Chagas and chronic infantile Chagas, the rates are lower.
The person in charge of the Chagas Program of the Headquarters, Eduardo Rueda, explains that in this first half of the year, in the case of congenital Chagas, pregnant women were screened to see if they are infected with this disease, in case of being positive follow up on it.
Rueda explained that between January and June of this year, around 3,400 pregnant women have been subjected to these detection tests, of which 663 were positive at the departmental level, which translates into a general prevalence of 21.7%.
“In other words, of the total 100% of women, 21.7% have Chagas, they are infected. Now if we do an analysis by municipality, we see that the municipality with the highest percentage or prevalence is El Puente with 45.1%, but this is relative, because if we do an analysis 28 women are negative and 23 positive, they are few, but we can say that almost half are infected, they have to be monitored at delivery to see if they are children born with the disease, “he explained.
Regarding the children born to a pregnant woman diagnosed positive for Chagas, only 10 children were born with congenital Chagas, of which eight belong to the municipality of Yacuiba and two from the Cercado province.
“In the other municipalities, they have not come out positive during the first months that it is done, because this must be followed up until the child is one year old,” said Rueda.
Childhood Chronic Chagas
According to the data provided by the Headquarters, up to the month of June, 75 children between 1 and 5 years of age had been diagnosed, of which only 5 tested positive for Chagas disease.
While in the age range of 5 to 15 years, 349 were diagnosed, of which only 4 tested positive for the disease.
Chagas in adults
Regarding the population over 15 years of age, the test was carried out on 3,007 people, 568 positives between men and women have been diagnosed.
“Now logically of these 568 positives, not all meet the conditions to undergo treatment, hence around 12% maximum 15% have the conditions to be treated, the others for different situations, some who may be over 50 years old , or who have problems of other diseases that do not allow them to do the treatment, either due to cardiac or digestive issues, there are also people who come from distant areas where they cannot be controlled, so that is also a limitation, “he said.
In the case of adult Chagas, Rueda explained that the prevalence means that of the 100% of diagnoses made in males, 18.1% usually test positive, while in the case of women, 100% on 19 .4% test positive for the disease.
In the age range over 15 years, the municipalities that have the highest prevalence or that register the highest rate of contagion due to the disease, Entre Ríos is the one that occupies the first place where 68.8% are males and 45.8% in women; Padcaya follows with 45.2% in men and 55% in women.
Rueda clarified that in the case of adults, diagnoses are made by people who have gone to a health facility to be tested and it is not a screening campaign.
“Those people probably had symptoms and have gone to get tested and what has been positive and gives us this percentage,” he mentioned.
Although the indicators are almost equal to the data recorded during the entire 2021 administration, Rueda assures that the data for this first semester is relatively similar to the first semester of last year.
Rueda argues that the pandemic caused by Covid-19 is one of the reasons why detection work is slowed down, due to the fact that the population, for fear of contracting coronavirus, has stopped attending health centers. However, he emphasizes that compared to 2020 and 2021, in this management there has been a greater scope with the work.
The prevalence of Chagas is similar to that of 2021
According to the Headquarters report on the cases of congenital Chagas in the 2021 administration, they realize that 4,806 women who attended a health center for prenatal control were diagnosed, of which 895 tested positive for the disease, with a prevalence is of 20%.
In chronic childhood Chagas, 289 children were diagnosed, of whom 16 tested positive, which translates into a prevalence of 7.4%. While, in people over 15 years of age, 3,002 people have been diagnosed, of which 665 tested positive, which translates into a prevalence of 22.15%.