With more than six million people in the Americas living with Chagas, including in Guyana, the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) has launched a new guide covering diagnosis and treatment to improve the detection and management of the disease.

The guide, currently available only in Spanish, is aimed at reducing the incidences of the disease. According to PAHO, most people living with this disease are in fact unaware that they are infected.

PAHO this week shared that an estimated 28,000 new cases of this disease result each year from vector transmission, with an additional 8,000 resulting from congenital transmission.

Chagas disease, or American trypanosomiasis, is caused by the Trypanosoma cruzi parasite and can be transmitted by insects, through blood transfusions, from mother to child during pregnancy or childbirth, and by food.

The existing state of affairs, PAHO has revealed, is that some 65 million people living in 21 endemic countries of the Americas are at risk of contracting Chagas disease, a parasitic infection that claims some 12,000 lives in the region every year.

Furthermore, Chagas has had significant negative public health impact in the Americas and also has the potential to spread to other continents via congenital transmission and blood transfusions. Yet health personnel in the Region have typically faced the problem with little information and minimal training on timely and adequate diagnosis and treatment, including comprehensive clinical management.

The new guide seeks to bridge these gaps by providing clearer and more standardised procedures for improved care and treatment for every infected person, with the goal of contributing to better health for patients, their families and entire communities.

The new guide was developed by notable experts in the field and is based on evidence assessed with the Grading of Recommendations Assessment, Development and Evaluation (GRADE) methodology, providing a synthesis of currently known and published evidence on the subject.


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