New kissing bug guide helps with fight against Chagas disease

from School Pest News, Texas A&M AgriLife

A guide to help battle a potentially fatal disease transferred by a blood-sucking insect called the kissing bug has been published by a task force led by The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth).

While it may not make good bedtime reading, the new image-based guide from the Texas Chagas Task Force could keep you from falling victim to a disease caused by a parasite that the kissing bug carries. The parasite is Trypanosoma cruzi (T.cruzi), and the disease it causes is called Chagas disease. It is dubbed the silent killer because its symptoms are so elusive. If caught early, Chagas disease is treatable but if left undetected and untreated, it can eventually lead to problems such as heart failure, an enlarged heart or stroke. Continue reading

FDA approves first U.S. treatment for Chagas disease

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced yesterday that it has granted accelerated approval for the nation’s first treatment for Chagas disease, a parasitic infection caused by Trypanosoma cruzi spread by kissing bugs that has increasingly been found in the United States, especially in Texas’s Rio Grande Valley area.

The drug benznidazole, made by Chemo Research, SL, of Madrid, is approved for use in children ages 2 to 12 years old who have Chagas disease. Its safety and efficacy were shown in two placebo-controlled clinical trials in children 6 to 12 years old. An additional study in kids ages 2 to 12 helped set dosing recommendations. Stomach pain, rash, decreased weight, and headache were among the most common adverse reactions, and the drug was associated with some serious risks, including skin reactions, nervous system effects, and bone marrow depression.  Continue reading

Texas A&M entities helping understand, monitor Chagas disease

To keep both animals and humans protected from Chagas disease, Texas A&M University System entities have been studying the parasite-host-vector interaction at sites in South Central Texas.

Chagas is the common name for a disease transmitted by insects and animals that can cause severe symptoms, even death, in humans. It is responsible for an estimated 50,000 deaths annually in Latin American countries, according to the World Health Organization. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate 8 to 11 million people throughout Latin America have the disease, the majority of whom do not even realize they are infected.

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