Clinical Profile of Trypanosoma Cruzi Infection in a Non-Endemic Setting: Immigration and Chagas Disease in Barcelona (Spain)

Acta Trop. 2009 Jul;111(1):51-5. doi: 10.1016/j.actatropica.2009.02.005. Epub 2009 Mar 5.


Background: Chagas disease is no longer limited to Latin America and is becoming frequent in industrialised countries in Europe and United States.

Methods: A descriptive study of Latin American immigrants in Barcelona attending two centres for imported diseases during a period of 3 years. The main outcome was the identification of Trypanosoma cruzi-infected individuals in a non-endemic country and the characterization of their clinical and epidemiological features.

Results: A total of 489 Latin American patients participated in the study. Forty-one percent were infected by T. cruzi, and the most frequent country of origin was Bolivia. All T. cruzi infected patients were in chronic stages of infection. 19% of cases had cardiac disorders and 9% had digestive disorders.

Conclusions: A high percentage of participants in this study were infected by T. cruzi and various factors were found to be associated to the infection. It is important to improve clinical and epidemiological knowledge of T. cruzi infection in non-endemic countries and to develop appropriate screening and treatment protocols in these settings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Chagas Disease / complications
  • Chagas Disease / epidemiology*
  • Chagas Disease / pathology
  • Chagas Disease / physiopathology
  • Digestive System Diseases / etiology
  • Emigration and Immigration*
  • Female
  • Heart Diseases / etiology
  • Humans
  • Latin America
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Trypanosoma cruzi / isolation & purification*
  • Young Adult