Munoz J., Coll O., Juncosa T., Vergés M., del Pino M., Fumado V., Bosch J., Posada E.J., Hernandez S., Fisa R., Boguna J.M., Gàllego M., Sanz S., Portus M., Gascon J.
Clin Infect Dis, 2009; 48: 1736-40
Description: Chagas disease affects around 8 million people in Latin America and is now progressively appearing in non-endemic countries. The authors performed a study in two maternity clinics in Barcelona to establish the prevalence of T.cruzi infection in Latin American immigrant pregnant women and to assess the risk of vertical transmission. In this study the prevalence of infection among the women was found to be 3.4% (greater than in the literature 1%) and the rate of transplacental transmission was found to be 7.3%.
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ECDC comment: 2009-08-05
The prevalence of T. cruzi infection in pregnant women of Latin American origin in industrialized countries and their neonates is probably underestimated. The very recent population migration from South America (especially Ecuador, Bolivia, Peru and Colombia) is relevant for the emergence of Chagas disease in Europe and, particularly for Spain, where in 2007, South American immigrants were estimated to be 1,600,000.
Health authorities of countries where T. cruzi is not endemic but where there are many Latin American women may need considering the introduction of screening programs at both blood banks and antenatal clinics. Early detection and treatment of infected neonates soon after delivery has proven to provide the best therapeutic results andmay prevent chronic infection in adulthood. It is also important to provide treatment to those patients affected by chronic infection before they develop complications (heart or gastrointestinal problems) or infect someone during blood or solid organ transplantation.