early diagnosis increases chances of cure; know how to prevent

Celebrating the World Day of Chagas Disease, the Health Surveillance Foundation of Amazonas – Dr. Rosemary Costa Pinto (FVS-RCP) warns for the prevention of the disease caused by the protozoan Trypanosoma cruzi.

In May 2019, the 14th of April was approved by the World Health Assembly of the World Health Organization (WHO) as World Chagas Disease Day. Awareness of the disease aims to improve treatment rates and early cures, along with stopping its transmission.

According to the technical director of FVS-RCP, Daniel Barros, World Chagas Disease Day helps the population raise awareness of the disease to prevent it from being neglected. “There is no vaccine for the disease, but there are drugs to fight it. The earlier the diagnosis and the sooner the treatment is started, the greater the chances of a cure for the patient”, highlights Daniel.

The head of the Department of Environmental Health Surveillance at the FVS-RCP, Elder Figueira, highlights that the transmission of Chagas Disease is carried out through contact with contaminated feces and urine from the “barbeiro”. In Amazonas, however, the majority of cases occur due to the ingestion of contaminated food, during the preparation of juices from palm fruits, such as açaí and bacaba.

Chagas disease can have two phases, acute and chronic. “In the acute phase, the symptoms are: prolonged fever, headache, weakness and swelling in the face and legs. In the acute phase, if the person does not receive timely treatment, he or she develops the chronic phase of the disease, and may present complications such as heart problems”, says Elder.

Scenario – In 2021, 76 cases of Chagas Disease were reported in Amazonas. In 2022, from January to March, 12 cases of Chagas Disease were reported. This year, the reported cases were registered in the municipality of Barcelos (4), Lábrea (3), Manaus (2), São Paulo de Olivença (1), Uarini (1) and Carauari (1).

Prevention – It is important to prevent the “barbeiro” insect from forming colonies, through the application of residual insecticides, carried out by a qualified technical team. In rural areas, where insects can be attracted by artificial lighting, favoring entry into houses by flying through openings or crevices, the use of mosquito nets or protective screens on doors and windows is recommended.

It is recommended to use individual protection measures (repellents, long-sleeved clothing, etc.) when carrying out night activities in forested areas. In order to prevent oral transmission, health surveillance and inspection actions must be intensified, especially attention to the place where food is handled.

Reference – The FVS-RCP is responsible for Health Surveillance in Amazonas and monitors diseases in the state, including Chagas Disease, through the Department of Environmental Surveillance (DVA).

The institution is open from Monday to Friday, from 8 am to 5 pm, at Avenida Torquato Tapajós, 4010, Colônia Santo Antônio, Manaus. The FVS-RCP telephone contact is (92) 3182-8510.

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