International Chagas Day

Posted 9 February 2018


Rrevealing the Neglect: Chagas Disease

Yerko’s Story 

Yerko, a father of three, loved playing the guitar and singing at church or with his family. He grew up in Bolivia in the small community of El Forestal in the east of the country. As a child, he and his family lived in a house constructed in the traditional Bolivian way, with walls made of adobe bricks and a roof of palm leaves. The house was shaded by palm trees and stayed very cool in the hot tropical sun.

However, hidden inside the cracks and crevices in the walls and roof were insects known locally as vinchucas, or kissing bugs in English. These insects came out at night to drink the blood of Yerko and his family while they slept.

The bites are painless, but they can transmit the parasitical disease Chagas in an unusual way. Sometimes the kissing bugs defecate near a bite while they drink blood. The feces harbor the parasite which causes Chagas disease. When the sleeping victim unconsciously scratches the bite, they can introduce the infected feces into their bloodstream.

They may not feel sick until decades later.

Read the rest of Yerko's story on the DNDi website

Ending the Neglect of Chagas

Bringing Chagas disease care to a remote Colombian region 

Despite decades of armed conflict and unrest, Colombia has taken great strides to ensure health care for its citizens. This includes a new pilot project to increase access to treatment for Chagas disease that was launched in 2015 in five communities across four departments in eastern Colombia. The project encompasses the departments of Arauca, Casanare, Santander, and Boyacá, targeting a highly endemic area for Chagas disease.

Read the rest of the story and other articles about Chagas here