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Prevalence of Chagas Disease and Associated Factors in an Endemic Area of Northeastern Argentina

Inés María BaeckDepartment of Internal Medicine, CEMIC Center for Medical Education and Clinical Research “Norberto Quirno,” CABA, Argentina;

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Pablo MandoDepartment of Internal Medicine, CEMIC Center for Medical Education and Clinical Research “Norberto Quirno,” CABA, Argentina;

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Belén María VirasoroDepartment of Internal Medicine, CEMIC Center for Medical Education and Clinical Research “Norberto Quirno,” CABA, Argentina;

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Alfredo MartinezDepartment of Clinical Biochemistry, CEMIC Center for Medical Education and Clinical Research “Norberto Quirno,” CABA, Argentina;

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Soledad ZarateDepartment of Clinical Biochemistry, CEMIC Center for Medical Education and Clinical Research “Norberto Quirno,” CABA, Argentina;

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Ricardo ValentiniDepartment of Internal Medicine, CEMIC Center for Medical Education and Clinical Research “Norberto Quirno,” CABA, Argentina;

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Ignacio Lopez SaubidetDepartment of Internal Medicine, CEMIC Center for Medical Education and Clinical Research “Norberto Quirno,” CABA, Argentina;
Fundación pastoral universitaria San Lucas, CABA, Argentina

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ABSTRACT.

Chagas disease caused by Trypanosoma cruzi, remains one of the leading public health problems in Latin America. The number of infections in nonendemic countries continues to rise as a consequence of migratory flows. Updated information on prevalence, especially in treatable stages, together with vector eradication programs are key factors in an attempt to control the disease. We aim to estimate the prevalence of T. cruzi infection in an endemic area of Argentina and to describe epidemiological and clinical factors related to the disease. This is a cross-sectional study in an endemic rural area of Argentina. Our target population was people between 10 and 20 years of age, collecting demographic, clinical, and electrocardiographic data and seroprevalence against T. cruzi. We included 460 subjects; 76.7% did not have drinking water; 49.3% reported the presence of Triatoma infestans at home; 79.1% had pets or birds; 72.6% lived close to a chicken coop; 24.6% lived in adobe houses; 27.8% lived in overcrowded conditions. Seroprevalence was 9.33%. In the multivariate analysis, the presence of Triatoma infestans at home (OR 2.08, P = 0.03) had an association with seropositivity. No relevant findings indicating acute or chronic organ involvement were detected. We found no correlation of right bundle branch block (RBBB) and Chagas disease in our population. None of the infected patients were previously aware of their condition, highlighting the importance of active surveillance to detect infection in a potentially treatable stage, especially in areas with difficult access to health programs.

Author Notes

Address correspondence to Belén Virasoro, Department of Internal Medicine, CEMIC Center for Medical Education and Clinical Research “Norberto Quirno,” CABA, Argentina. E-mail: belenvirasoro@gmail.com

Authors’ addresses: Maria Baeck, Pablo Mando, Belén Virasoro, and Ricardo Valentini, Department of Internal Medicine, CEMIC Center for Medical Education and Clinical Research “Norberto Quirno,” CABA, Argentina, E-mails: inesmariabaeck@gmail.com, pablomando@gmail.com, belenvirasoro@gmail.com, and ricardovalentini@hotmail.com. Alfredo Martinez and Soledad Zarate, Department of Clinical Biochemistry, CEMIC Center for Medical Education and Clinical Research “Norberto Quirno,” CABA, Argentina, E-mails: amartinez@cemic.edu.ar and szarate@cemic.edu.ar. Ignacio Lopez Saubidet, Department of Internal Medicine, CEMIC Center for Medical Education and Clinical Research “Norberto Quirno,” CABA, Argentina, and Fundación pastoral universitaria San Lucas, CABA, Argentina, E-mail: ilopezsaubidet@gmail.com.

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