DNDi has confirmed existence of chagas disease in the US from migrant communities and warns that it is a cause of alarm since the data on the disease is insufficient.
DNDi revealed that the partial data which they have on chagas disease attribute the existence of Chagas disease in US among these people to preventable situations which are the fear of stigma, gaps in health systems and medical community not being aware of the challenges immigrants and vulnerable communities face.
DNDi revealed that these are also the latest barriers in eradication of Chagas disease in the US since the mode of transmission of the disease in the US is only through the bite of a kissing bug and unfortunately is increasing the burden of heart disease in America caused by Chagas.
This was established after the research set out to find out why available access to treatment of the fatal disease is low at 0.3% of the 300,000 people living with Chagas disease in the US yet it quickly degenerates into gastrointestinal complications if left untreated.
“This paper examines why only 0.3% of the more than 300,000 people living with Chagas in the US have received potentially life-saving treatment for this neglected disease, which is transmitted blood –sucking ‘kissing bugs’ .While Chagas is transmitted within the US by native kissing bugs, most patients living with the disease were born in Latin America and today face multiple barriers to accessing healthcare,” stated DNDi.
DNDi states that the authors fault the gap in economic capabilities combined with racial discrimination such as anti-immigrants complains creating more problems by delimiting access to available treatments resulting into undocumented cases of the disease.
“An estimated 30% of those living with Chagas in the US are undocumented. The neglect of people living with Chagas disease is having an impact on the health of immigrant communities in the US. It is hard to get treated when you’re in a job that won’t provide time off, and you have to take a three hour bus ride to get to an appointment ,and when your doctor doesn’t know what you’re talking about when you bring up Chagas disease,” stated DNDi.
This is further impeded by the fact that comprehensive care of Chagas disease is rare and only done by an organization called the CECD that has attended to only 8000 patients in Los Angeles only through their health fairs.
DNDi recommended to the people to practice regular medical checkups, creating awareness of the disease, ensuring that there is free treatments and availing a simple treatment regimen as the only way forward since the disease also has no early warning signs and symptoms and upon diagnosis is always late and being a neglected disease, current medics awareness of it is low.
DNDi , https://www.dndi.org/2019
Written by: Everlyne Otieno