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Trypanosomiasis (Chagas Disease) in Venezuela

11 Apr 2018

On 9 April 2018, ProMED reporteda suspected outbreak of acute Chagas disease. A total of 5 people died in the city of Puerto Nuevo in Táchira state, west of Venezuela. The fatalities were an 11 month old baby, a 79 year-old woman and 3 men of 31, 42 and 51 years old respectively.

Advice for Travellers

Trypanosomiasis is transmitted by the reduvid bugs which inhabit the thatched roofs and cracks in the walls of mud huts. The bugs come out at night, transmitting infection by rubbing the organism, which is passed in their excreta, into the bite wound as they feed.

Oral transmission of infection via contaminated fruit juice has been the cause of outbreaks in Brazil and Venezuela.

  • Prevention is by avoidance of reduviid bug bites.
  • If possible avoid living in mud huts in risk areas.
  • Treat bedding and clothing with insecticide.
  • Sleep under an impregnated mosquito net.
  • Report any bites promptly on return from risk area.
  • Do not consume locally produced fruit juice from markets and street vendors.

Further information on American trypanosomiasis is available via the TRAVAX 'Suitcase'.