What Is Trypanosoma Cruzi: The Kissing Bug Disease?

What is Trypanosoma Cruzi?

Trypanosomiasis is the term for several types of parasitic diseases that affects the heart and causes various forms of cardiomyopathy and nervous system conditions.

Often named for regional infections - like African Trypanosomiasis in sub-Saharan Africa and Chagas Disease in Central and South America – it is spread by “The Kissing Bug” or the “Tsetse Fly” as vectors – it is a parasite that can affect the heart, nervous system and other human systems.



The Life Cycle of Trypanosoma Cruzi
The parasite progresses from various stages

Signs and Symptoms

  • Chancre sores and localized swelling
  • Fever
  • Fatigue
  • Rash
  • Nausea
  • Swollen lymph glands
  • Headaches
  • Hematuria
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Enlargement of liver and spleen


  • Extensive neurological effects
  • Confusion
  • Seizures
  • Magaesophagus (dilatation of the esophagus)
  • Megacolon (enlargement of the colon)

Cardiovascular and Heart

  • Congestive Heart Failure
  • Myocarditis
  • Fibrosis
  • Thrombosis
  • Arrhythmias
  • Mural endocarditis
  • Cardiac fibrosis
  • Epicardial thickening
  • Dilated Cardiomyopathies

Diagnostic Procedures

  • Electrocardiogram
  • Chest and abdominal X-ray
  • Endoscopy
  • Echocardiogram

Prevention and Treatment
Prevention – the use of insecticides in regions with infestation
Treatment – drugs to manage the condition, and Benznidazole and Nifurtimox only available through the Centers of Disease Control

Mayo Clinic - http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/chagas-disease/basics/definition/con-20030854; accessed 05-20-2017
CNN – http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/19/health/chagas-kissing-bugs-disease-deaths-underestimated/index.html ; accessed 05-20-2017
Wikipedia - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trypanosoma_cruzi ; accessed 05-20-2017
CDC - https://www.cdc.gov/dpdx/trypanosomiasisAmerican/index.html; accessed 05-20-2017
Al Jazerra English – “Chagas: A Silent Killer” a human story, at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_P0-JMjcNMI

Image Sourses

Trypanosoma Cruzi - Wikipedia
"The KissingBug" - Wikipedia
Life Cycle - Center For Disease Control




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