Mother-child transmission of Chagas disease: could coinfection with human immunodeficiency virus increase the risk?

Rev Soc Bras Med Trop. 2009 Mar-Apr;42(2):107-9. doi: 10.1590/s0037-86822009000200002.


A study was conducted on all newborns from mothers with Chagas disease who were attended at Hospital Donación F. Santojanni between January 1, 2001, and August 31, 2007. Each child was investigated for the presence of Trypanosoma cruzi parasitemia through direct examination of blood under the microscope using the buffy coat method on three occasions during the first six months of life. Serological tests were then performed. Ninety-four children born to mothers infected with Trypanosoma cruzi were attended over the study period. Three of these children were born to mothers coinfected with the human immunodeficiency virus. Vertical transmission of Chagas disease was diagnosed in 13 children, in all cases by identifying parasitemia. The overall Chagas disease transmission rate was 13.8% (13/94). It was 100% (3/3) among the children born to mothers with HIV infection and 10.9% (10/91) among children born to mothers without HIV [Difference = 0.89; CI95 = 0.82-0.95; p = 0.0021]. We concluded that coinfection with HIV could increase the risk of vertical transmission of Chagas disease.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Chagas Disease / complications
  • Chagas Disease / diagnosis
  • Chagas Disease / transmission*
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / complications*
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical*
  • Latex Fixation Tests
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Parasitic*
  • Trypanosoma cruzi*