Global economic burden of Chagas disease: a computational simulation model

Lancet Infect Dis. 2013 Apr;13(4):342-8. doi: 10.1016/S1473-3099(13)70002-1. Epub 2013 Feb 8.


Background: As Chagas disease continues to expand beyond tropical and subtropical zones, a growing need exists to better understand its resulting economic burden to help guide stakeholders such as policy makers, funders, and product developers. We developed a Markov simulation model to estimate the global and regional health and economic burden of Chagas disease from the societal perspective.

Methods: Our Markov model structure had a 1 year cycle length and consisted of five states: acute disease, indeterminate disease, cardiomyopathy with or without congestive heart failure, megaviscera, and death. Major model parameter inputs, including the annual probabilities of transitioning from one state to another, and present case estimates for Chagas disease came from various sources, including WHO and other epidemiological and disease-surveillance-based reports. We calculated annual and lifetime health-care costs and disability-adjusted life-years (DALYs) for individuals, countries, and regions. We used a discount rate of 3% to adjust all costs and DALYs to present-day values.

Findings: On average, an infected individual incurs US$474 in health-care costs and 0·51 DALYs annually. Over his or her lifetime, an infected individual accrues an average net present value of $3456 and 3·57 DALYs. Globally, the annual burden is $627·46 million in health-care costs and 806,170 DALYs. The global net present value of currently infected individuals is $24·73 billion in health-care costs and 29,385,250 DALYs. Conversion of this burden into costs results in annual per-person costs of $4660 and lifetime per-person costs of $27,684. Global costs are $7·19 billion per year and $188·80 billion per lifetime. More than 10% of these costs emanate from the USA and Canada, where Chagas disease has not been traditionally endemic. A substantial proportion of the burden emerges from lost productivity from cardiovascular disease-induced early mortality.

Interpretation: The economic burden of Chagas disease is similar to or exceeds those of other prominent diseases globally (eg, rotavirus $2·0 billion, cervical cancer $4·7 billion) even in the USA (Lyme disease $2·5 billion), where Chagas disease has not been traditionally endemic, suggesting an economic argument for more attention and efforts towards control of Chagas disease.

Funding: Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences Models of Infectious Disease Agent Study.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism
  • Acute Disease
  • Chagas Cardiomyopathy / economics
  • Chagas Cardiomyopathy / epidemiology
  • Chagas Disease / economics*
  • Chagas Disease / epidemiology*
  • Chagas Disease / mortality
  • Chronic Disease
  • Computer Simulation*
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Disabled Persons* / statistics & numerical data
  • Efficiency
  • Europe / epidemiology
  • Global Health
  • Health Care Costs / statistics & numerical data*
  • Heart Failure / parasitology
  • Humans
  • Hypertrophy / parasitology
  • Latin America / epidemiology
  • Markov Chains
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
  • South America / epidemiology
  • United States / epidemiology
  • Viscera / parasitology
  • Viscera / pathology