World Chagas Disease Day: WHO Raises Awareness of Silent Threat

World Chagas Disease Day: WHO Raises Awareness of Silent Threat

Chagas Disease, named after Brazilian physician Carlos Chagas, is an infectious disease caused by the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi.

World Chagas Disease Day:

  • The World Health Organisation (WHO) observes the World Chagas Disease Day on April 14 to raise awareness about the illness.
  • WHO emphasizes the need for increased public awareness, funding, and support for early diagnosis and comprehensive follow-up care initiatives.
  • Chagas Disease primarily affects poor populations of continental Latin America but is increasingly detected in other countries and continents.

Transmission and Spread:

  • Chagas Disease is transmitted to humans through the bite of infected triatomine bugs, commonly known as “kissing bugs,” which are active mostly at night.
  • Transmission can also occur through blood transfusion, organ transplant, or contaminated food and beverages.

Prevalence and Impact:

  • WHO describes Chagas Disease as a “silent and silenced disease” due to the majority of infected individuals being asymptomatic or experiencing mild symptoms.
  • Approximately 6-7 million people worldwide are infected with Chagas Disease, leading to around 10,000 deaths annually.


  • Mild flu-like symptoms: fever, fatigue, body aches, headaches.
  • Other symptoms include rash, loss of appetite, diarrhea, vomiting, swelling, or sore near the eye or on the side of the face where the bite occurred.
  • Johns Hopkins warns that Chagas Disease symptoms may resemble those of other illnesses, making diagnosis challenging.

Stages and Progression:

  • Chagas Disease progresses through two stages: acute and chronic.
  • The acute stage often presents mild or no symptoms, making it difficult to diagnose.
  • Chronic phase manifestations can occur years or decades after the initial infection.
  • In the chronic phase, the parasite can affect the heart muscle, leading to abnormal heart rhythm and difficulties in eating or passing stool.

Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs):

  1. Who discovered Chagas Disease in 1909?
    a) Carlos Santana
    b) Carlos Chagas
    c) Carlos Ruiz
    d) Carlos Martinez
    Answer: b) Carlos Chagas
  2. How is Chagas Disease primarily transmitted to humans?
    a) Mosquito bites
    b) Tick bites
    c) Triatomine bug bites
    d) Flea bites
    Answer: c) Triatomine bug bites
  3. What is the main focus of the World Chagas Disease Day observed by WHO?
    a) Fundraising for research
    b) Increasing public awareness
    c) Providing free treatment
    d) Distributing insect repellents
    Answer: b) Increasing public awareness
  4. What is a common nickname for the triatomine bugs that transmit Chagas Disease?
    a) Bloodsuckers
    b) Mosquitoes
    c) Kissing bugs
    d) Black flies
    Answer: c) Kissing bugs
  5. How many people worldwide are estimated to be infected with Chagas Disease annually?
    a) 1-2 million
    b) 3-4 million
    c) 6-7 million
    d) 8-9 million
    Answer: c) 6-7 million