Congenital transmission of Chagas disease - Virginia, 2010

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2012 Jul 6;61(26):477-9.


Chagas disease, caused by infection with the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, affects 8-11 million persons globally. In the endemic areas of Mexico, Central America, and South America, most infections are transmitted by triatomine insect (kissing bug) vectors. However, infection also can be acquired congenitally or through blood transfusion, organ transplantation, consumption of triatomine-contaminated food or drink, or laboratory accident. Early detection and treatment are highly effective; however, acute infection often is subclinical, and most persons are unaware of their infection. If left untreated, the infection is lifelong. The majority of persons with chronic infection remain without signs or symptoms, but 20%-30% eventually develop disease manifestations, most commonly, cardiomyopathy. Migration from endemic areas has led to an estimated 300,000 persons in the United States with chronic Chagas disease, including women of reproductive age who risk transmitting the infection to their children. This report describes the first case of congenital Chagas disease in the United States confirmed by CDC and highlights the importance of raising awareness of Chagas disease among health-care providers.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Ascites / etiology
  • Bolivia
  • Chagas Disease / complications
  • Chagas Disease / congenital*
  • Chagas Disease / diagnosis*
  • Chagas Disease / drug therapy
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Male
  • Nitroimidazoles / therapeutic use
  • Pericardial Effusion / etiology
  • Pleural Effusion / etiology
  • Pregnancy
  • Pregnancy Complications, Infectious / diagnosis*
  • Serologic Tests
  • Trypanocidal Agents / therapeutic use
  • Virginia


  • Nitroimidazoles
  • Trypanocidal Agents
  • benzonidazole