Prevalence of Chagas disease and strongyloidiasis among HIV-infected Latin American immigrants in Italy - The CHILI study

Travel Med Infect Dis. 2022 Jul-Aug:48:102324. doi: 10.1016/j.tmaid.2022.102324. Epub 2022 Apr 1.


Introduction: Screening HIV-positive migrants for neglected tropical diseases having potential for life-threatening reactivation, such as Chagas disease and strongyloidiasis is not widely implemented. We evaluated the prevalence of these infections among a large cohort of HIV-infected migrants from Latin America living in Italy.

Method: Cross-sectional study evaluating the prevalence of Trypanosoma cruzi and Strongyloides stercoralis infections in HIV-infected migrants from Latin America enrolled in the Italian Cohort of Antiretroviral-Naïve patients (ICONA) between 1997 and 2018, based on serology performed on sera stored in the ICONA Foundation biobank. Screening for Chagas disease was performed using two commercial ELISA complemented by commercial Immunoblot and CLIA if discordant. Strongyloidiasis was evaluated using a commercial ELISA.

Results: 389 patients were analysed. Fifteen (3.86%) had at least one positive Chagas ELISA test. Prevalence of Chagas disease was 0.5% or 1.29% depending on the confirmatory technique. Serology for strongyloidiasis was positive in 16 (4.11%) patients. Only Nadir CD4+ T cell count was associated with discordant serology for Chagas disease (p = 0.046).

Conclusions: The accuracy of seroassays for Chagas disease and strongyloidiasis in HIV-positive patients is unclear. To avoid missing potentially life-threatening infections, we suggest implementing additional diagnostic strategies in at-risk patients with inconclusive serology results.

Keywords: Chagas disease; HIV/AIDS; Migrants; Opportunistic infection; Strongyloides stercoralis; Trypanosoma cruzi.

MeSH terms

  • Chagas Disease* / complications
  • Chagas Disease* / epidemiology
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Emigrants and Immigrants*
  • HIV Infections* / complications
  • HIV Infections* / epidemiology
  • Humans
  • Italy / epidemiology
  • Latin America / epidemiology
  • Prevalence
  • Strongyloidiasis* / diagnosis
  • Strongyloidiasis* / epidemiology