An outbreak of Chagas disease has been reported in the Aparecida do Rio Negro area of Tocantins state. According to state health authorities, at least 14 cases have been reported, including nine confirmed cases as of early December. Further spread of the disease is possible.
Chagas disease, or American trypanosomiasis, is an infectious disease caused by the Trypanosoma cruzi parasite. The disease is transmitted by the bite or consumption of food contaminated with the feces of the triatomine insect, and is primarily found in the Americas, particularly in poor, rural areas of Latin America. Initial symptoms include fever or swelling around the site of infection during the acute phase of the disease, which lasts for a few weeks to a month after infection; a longer, chronic phase follows, in which many of those infected may be asymptomatic. If left untreated, Chagas disease can result in digestive disorders, neurological disorders, cardiac arrhythmia, and even heart failure.
To minimize the risk of contracting Chagas disease and other diseases transmitted via insects in Brazil, use insect repellent, wear covering clothing, and sleep under insect netting or in an air-conditioned room. Seek immediate medical attention if you develop the abovementioned symptoms.
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