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Review
, 42, 1-27

The Southern Cone Initiative Against Chagas Disease

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Review

The Southern Cone Initiative Against Chagas Disease

C J Schofield et al. Adv Parasitol.

Abstract

Chagas disease (also known as American trypanosomiasis) is now ranked as the most serious parasitic disease of the Americas, with an economic impact far outranking the combined effects of other parasitic diseases such as malaria, schistosomiasis and leishmaniasis. Although the chronic infection remains virtually incurable, transmission can be halted by eliminating the domestic insect vectors and screening blood donors to avoid transfusional transmission. In line with this strategy, governments of the six Southern Cone countries (Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay) launched in 1991 an ambitious initiative to control Chagas disease through elimination of the main vector, Triatoma infestans, and large-scale screening of blood donors. Now at its mid-point, the programme has achieved remarkable success, with transmission halted over vast areas of the previously endemic regions. Well over 2 million rural houses have been sprayed to eliminate T. infestans, and the programme has already shown significant economic rates of return in addition to the medical and social benefits.

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