Prevalence of Trypanosoma cruzi infection in pregnant Latin American women and congenital transmission rate in a non-endemic area: the experience of the Valencian Health Programme (Spain)

Epidemiol Infect. 2012 Oct;140(10):1896-903. doi: 10.1017/S0950268811002482. Epub 2011 Dec 1.


This study describes the results of the health programme implemented in the Valencian Community (Spain) to achieve an early diagnosis of Chagas disease in pregnant Latin American women and their newborns. During 2009 and 2010, 1975 women living in the health districts of three university hospitals were enrolled via midwives or at the time of delivery. Diagnosis of disease was performed using two serological tests with different antigens. Congenital infection was diagnosed by parasitological, molecular or serological methods from blood samples obtained at birth or in subsequent controls. The overall seroprevalence of Chagas infection in pregnant women from 16 different endemic countries was 11·4%. Infection was higher in those from countries in the Gran Chaco Region (Bolivia, 34·1%; Paraguay, 7·4%; Argentina, 5·3%). Eight newborn infants from Bolivian mothers had congenital Chagas which represents a vertical transmission rate of 3·7%. In conclusion, this work supports the benefits of offering an early diagnosis to pregnant women and newborns during routine prenatal healthcare.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Antibodies, Protozoan / blood
  • Chagas Disease / congenital*
  • Chagas Disease / epidemiology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • DNA, Protozoan / genetics
  • Enzyme-Linked Immunosorbent Assay
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Infectious Disease Transmission, Vertical*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / epidemiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Spain / epidemiology
  • Trypanosoma cruzi / genetics
  • Trypanosoma cruzi / immunology
  • Trypanosoma cruzi / isolation & purification*
  • Young Adult


  • Antibodies, Protozoan
  • DNA, Protozoan