“NEW AIDS OF THE AMERICAS”
INFECTED 8 MILLLION PEOPLE; KILLED 20,000 A YEAR
Even as the never-ending search for a perfect cure to the deadly Acquired Immunodeficiency Virus / Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (HIV/AIDS) continues, an American bug is spreading a new disease similar to HIV/AIDS, infecting 8 million people and killing 20,000 every year, according to the Public Library of Science’s Neglected Tropical Diseases.
In an editorial published in a medical journal called the “The new AIDS of the Americas,” the Public Library of Science’s Neglected Tropical Diseases.said the tropical disease similar to HIV/AIDS epidemic is spread by insects called “chagas”
“There are a number of striking similarities between people living with Chagas disease and people living with HIV/AIDS,” the authors wrote, “particularly for those with HIV/AIDS who contracted the disease in the first two decades of the HIV/AIDS epidemic.”
Unlike HIV, Chagas is not a s-e-x-u-a-l-l-y transmitted disease: it’s “caused by parasites transmitted to humans by blood-s-u-c-k-i-n-g insects.” It’s called the kissing bug. When it ingests your blood, it excretes the parasite at the same time. When you wake up and scratch the itch, the parasite moves into the wound and you’re infected.”
According to Dr. Peter Hotez, a researcher at Baylor College of Medicine and one of the editorial’s authors, there are two problems:
First, once the heart symptoms start, which is the most dreaded complication—the Chagas cardiomyopathy—the medicines no longer work very well and second the medicines are extremely toxic.
Apparently, more than 8 million people have been infected by Chagas, most of them in Latin and Central America. But more than 300,000 live in the United States.
Chagas, also known as American trypanosomiasis, k-i-l-l-s about 20,000 people per year, the journal said. Chagas disease is caused by blood s-u-c-k-i-n-g insects who transmit trypanosomes.
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