Leading cause of death in Men is caused by Chagas Disease & Heart failure 

Chagas Disease affects approximately 20 million worldwide, killing 50,000 each year, yet is practically unknown to most in the general public in the US.

If infected, you may not even know initially you have Chagas disease. It can slowly destroy your internal organs, and if you do not die from the acute stage, can cause death in the chronic stage, 10-20 years later.

Chagas is spreading worldwide — due to lack of knowledge and indifference.

Endemic in 21 countries, with 18-20 million infected and another 120 million people at risk

25% of the population of Latin America is at risk of acquiring Chagas Disease

More than 100,000 Latin American immigrants living in the United States are chronically infected and a potential source of transmission of the disease by means of blood transfusions

The disease is lethal, especially for children, and debilitates patients for years.

Previously thought to be endemic in Mexico, South and Latin America, other areas of the world such as the US and Europe are considering testing all blood donations for the parasite, T. cruzi, for the parasite that causes the disease due to travel patterns and rural migrations of populations to urban areas. 

 Chest radiograph of a Bolivian patient with chronic Trypanosoma cruzi infection, congestive heart failure, and rhythm disturbances. Pacemaker wires can be seen in the area of the left ventricle.

Infected triatomine bugs, that transmit T.cruzi, are found in North, Central and South America. Blood banks in selected cities of the continent vary between 3.0 and 53.0% -making the prevalence of T. cruzi infected blood higher than that of Hepatitis B, C, and HIV infection

In parts of South America, Chagas’ heart disease is the leading cause of death in men less than 45 years of age.

Blood transfusions in the US should be screened for antibodies to T.Cruzi; currently U.S. blood banks do not routinely conduct this screening.  

Numerous acute and chronic cases of the disease have been reported in domestic dogs in Texas, Oklahoma, Louisiana, South Carolina and Virginia

It is not known how many dogs or humans in the US actually have the disease due to lack of testing and reporting

The disease may be transmitted by the bite of an infected triaomine, (reduviid, “kissing”, or “assassin”) bugs, or through blood transfusion or transplacentally

In Texas infection rates in kissing bugs are reported to be 17-48%, in other states infection rates may not be known due to lack of knowledge about the disease and inadequate studies with regards to sampling bugs for the disease

The kissing bugs, or carriers of this disease, could be as close as your backyard.

Posted in August 3, 2012 | by CHAGAS Disease Biology Blogspot

#SayNoToPesticides!

Deadly CHAGAS: An Emerging Infectious Disease Threat In U.S.

October 1, 2015 | by Judy Stone | Forbes

Chagas, a parasitic disease, is the latest invisible killer infection to be recognized as a growing threat here. The infection is transmitted by the Triatomine bug, known as the “kissing” bug. The bugs infect people through bites—often near the eyes or mouth—or when their infected feces are accidentally rubbed into eyes or mucous membranes. Some transmission occurs from mother to child during pregnancy. Occasionally, transmission is through contaminated food or drink.   Triatoma sanguisuga – CDC/James Gathany

Most people in the U.S. with Chagas disease probably became infected as children, living in Latin America. The infection often has few symptoms early on, but after several decades, strikes fatally, often with sudden death from heart disease. I suspect that, similar to Lyme disease, the magnitude of disease and deaths from the protozoan parasite, Trypanosoma cruzi, which causes Chagas disease, is unrecognized in the U.S.

 2014 map of blood donors testing positive for CHAGAS disease. 

In Latin America, however, up to 12 million people might be infected, with a third going on to develop life-threatening heart complications. Chagas is a major cause of congestive heart failure and cardiac deaths, with an estimated 11,000 people dying annually, according to the WHO.

There are an estimated 300,167 people with Trypanosoma cruzi infection the U.S., including 40,000 pregnant women in North America. There are 30,000-45,000 cardiomyopathy cases and 63-315 congenital infections each year. Most of the people come from Mexico, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, or Argentina; Bolivia has the highest rate of Chagas in the world.

But in the U.S., we don’t often think of Chagas. Even as an infectious disease physician, I’ve never treated anyone with it, and it is not on my radar. So when a physician sees a patient who may have come to the U.S. as a child, and now has diabetes and hypertension, he or she is likely to attribute the heart disease to that and not look for infection. In fact, though, there are large pockets of undiagnosed disease. For example, a survey in Los Angeles of patients with a new diagnosis of cardiomyopathy who had lived in Latin America for at least a year, found 19% had Chagas disease, and they had a worse prognosis than those without the infection.

There are other reasons Chagas is overlooked. One is that Chagas is not a reportable disease except in four states, and Texas only began reporting in 2010. Most cases here have been detected by screening of blood donations, which has found about 1 in every 27,500 donors to be infected, according to CDC. However, a 2014 survey showed “one in every 6,500 blood donors tested positive for exposure to the parasite that causes Chagas disease.” A map of positive donations is here. While the triatome bugs are most common in the southern half of the U.S., they are actually quite widespread, as shown here.
Much bigger barriers to diagnosis are social and cultural. Many patients lack health insurance. Others are undocumented immigrants fearing deportation. Health literacy and language barriers are huge. There is a stigma associated with the diagnosis, as there is for many patients with TB, as Chagas is associated with poverty and poor living conditions. As Daisy Hernández noted in her excellent story in the Atlantic, “it’s hard, if not impossible, for moms with Chagas and no health insurance to see the doctors who would connect them to the CDC” and “patients don’t necessarily have savings in case they have adverse reactions to the medication and can’t work.”

There are pockets of Chagas in the states, including Los Angeles, the Washington metropolitan area, and the Texas border, where there are large immigrant communities from endemic areas. But I suspect that with climate change, we’ll see more Chagas in the southwest U.S., as more triatomine bugs are found further north. One recent study found more than 60% of the collected bugs carried the Trypanosome parasite, up from 40-50% in two similar studies. There are also now seven reports of Chagas infection that are clearly autochthonous, or locally acquired. University of Pennsylvania researcher Michael Levy has shown that bedbugs might be capable of transmitting Chagas, but no one has shown that they actually do. Entomologist and Wired author Gwen Pearson nicely explains why bedbugs are an unlikely vector and notes that you “far more likely to be injured by misusing pesticides to try to exterminate” them.

There’s more bad news. Treatment for Chagas is effective if given early in infection, although with significant side effects. There is no effective treatment for late stages of gastrointestinal or cardiac disease. A newly released study showed that benznidazole was no more effective than placebo in reducing cardiac complications, even though it reduced levels of parasites in the blood.

   Trypanasoma cruzi parasite in heart tissue – CDC

The two drugs available to treat Chagas, benznidazole and nifurtimox, are not yet FDA approved and are only available through the CDC under investigational protocols. Both carry significant side effects. Treatment of children with early Chagas is generally effective but, as with many drugs, treatment is hampered by lack of data on pediatric dosing and limited formulations. There is little research funding for new drug development, with less than US $1 million (0.04% of R&D funding dedicated to neglected diseases) focused on new drugs for Chagas disease, according to the Drugs for Neglected Diseases Initiative (DNDi).

Where do we go from here? The most immediate and cost-effective proposals are to increase surveillance for disease and screening of high-risk populations. Since the most effective treatment is given early in the course of infection, screening of pregnant women and children is a priority, as is education for these women and Ob-Gyn physicians.
While there is no effective treatment for advanced disease, efforts are underway to develop a vaccine against Chagas. The National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine just received a boost from a $2.6 million grant from the Carlos Slim Foundation for their initiative.

Chagas, like sickle cell, highlights disparities in access to screening and early treatment for serious illnesses disproportionately affecting the poor and people of color. While a moral and ethical issue, the choices made to gut public health programs for “cost saving” will also be unnecessarily costly in the end.

#SayNoToPesticides!

BedBugs Destroyed My Life – “Don’t Bring Them Home!”

  
March 19, 2016 | by Maryam Shah | Toronto Sun

She may be the unluckiest renter in Toronto.
Kathleen says bedbugs have forced her to move 11 times in the past six years.

The 45-year-old doesn’t even want her last name used because she says she’s already lost one job over the tiny critters.

“I was a normal person, I had a job and a nice apartment and this has completely broken my life,” she said.

She claims she first picked them up in 2010 after volunteering at a community centre in Regent Park.

That marked the beginning of a “downward spiral.”

Kathleen says she lost her job because she “made the mistake” of coming clean with her employers.

“I literally walked away with nothing but my health card in some cases, just trying to completely rid myself of them, only to end up in other buildings that were also infested,” she explained.

Now she lives outside of Toronto and wants all three levels of government — and the scientific community — to recognize bedbugs are a “national crisis.”

That’s why she spent Friday with placards outside City Hall, demanding more action in the battle against bedbugs.

“I went through all the proper protocol,” Kathleen said. “This isn’t a landlord and tenant issue anymore.”

She even had a friend — a private landlord from St. Catharines — dress up like a brown bedbug called Badness the Bedbug, which attracted curious looks from passersby.

The city’s website says if a landlord refuses to help with bedbugs, the tenant can contact a legal clinic, the landlord and tenant board, or Toronto Public Health.

#SayNoToPesticides!

BedBugs reported in some of NYC’s swankiest hotels. They were always there; and it’s getting worse. More important to follow as BedBugs transmit deadly Chagas disease.

February 8, 2016 | by Leonard Greene | New York Daily News
It’s not just the fleabags and flophouses.

Bedbugs have been reported in some of the city’s swankiest hotels with a list that includes the Waldorf Astoria the Millennium Hilton and the New York Marriott Marquis.

According to the Bedbug Registry, a nationwide database of bedbug reports and complaints, bedbug sightings in New York hotels have jumped more than 44 percent between 2014 and 2015.

The Millenium Hilton at 55 Church Street in New York New York.
Google Maps Street View

The Millenium Hilton at 55 Church Street in New York New York.

The data focused on establishments that are members of the Hotel Association of New York City.

Of the 272 association members, 65 percent, or 176 members, have had a guest file at least one complaint about bedbugs at the property.

NR

Michelle Bennett/Getty Images/Lonely Planet Image

Taxi cabs outside Waldorf Astoria Hotel.

Eighteen hotels had a combined 363 complaints, representing 42 percent of all bedbug complaints.

“I stayed in room 2306 for one night,” a Millennium Hilton guest wrote in a complaint to the hotel in 2014. “I found blood on my sheets and a live bug on my bed. I ended up with 60 plus bites.”

At the Times Square Doubletree guest said a stay there last year left hundreds of bite marks on the face, neck arms and hands.

“Extreme case of bed bug attacked on my entire upper body,” the guest wrote.” Went home to Florida a day early and ended up in my local emergency room.”

Research Entomologist Jeffrey White shows off some bedbugs at a informational bedbug conference at 201 Mulberry Street in Manhattan Wednesday.

Warga, Craig/New York Daily News

Last month, a California couple posted a YouTube video about their $400-a-night Central Park hotel room nightmare. The couple found dozens of bedbugs beneath their mattress at the Astor on the Park Hotel.

Lisa Linden, a spokeswoman for the hotel association, said hotels in New York are addressing the issue.

“Bedbugs are a global issue that extend beyond hotels,” Linden said.

”Every member of the Hotel Association of NYC that we are aware of has an active anti-bedbug program in place. If a problem arises, it is dealt with immediately and effectively.”

Scientists who recently studied the bloodsucking creatures in the city’s subway system discovered a genetic diversity among bedbugs depending upon the neighborhood where they were found.

They said the discovery could lead to better insecticides.

#SayNOtoPESTICIDES!

Sacramento, CA Suburb Movie Theater Has BedBug Scare

January 22, 2016 | by Melinda Meza
LODA, Calif. (KCRA) —A Lodi movie theater took action when moviegoers voiced their concerns on social media about bedbugs in the theater.

Which Big Law Firm in New York Is Dealing With A Bed Bug Infestation in the WorkPlace?

January 21, 2016 | by Staci Zaretsky | AboveTheLaw.com

Working in a big law firm in any capacity is difficult enough, but when you add positively nauseating things on top of an already stressful environment, it can make the situation even worse.

Raise your hand if you’re afraid of bugs. You may claim that you’re not, but we’re not talking about any old kind of bug — we’re talking about bed bugs. Bed bugs are likely to bite you repeatedly, suck your blood, and leave you with red, itchy welts all over your body. Bed bugs are also nearly impossible to get rid of. We suspect that you’d be deathly afraid of those kind of bugs.

One law firm is currently dealing with a bed bug problem, and it’s not looking pretty. According to our tipsters, partners at the New York office of Hogan Lovells are attempting to calm the hysteria breaking out at the firm after bed bugs were discovered in several offices at the firm. Here’s an excerpt from an email about the situation sent last night to all New York employees by administrative partner Christopher Donoho:

bed bug bedbug smallYesterday, we received notice that there was a bug discovered in a paralegal office on the 24th floor. We suspected it might be a bed bug and took it seriously. Last night, we had bed bug locating dogs in the office to search every office, work station and room on the 24th floor. The dogs found some evidence of bed bug presence in the managing clerk’s office, the paralegal’s office, one attorney office and one secretarial station. There was no other evidence of bed bugs on the floor. They also searched parts of other floors and found no evidence of bed bugs there either. The exterminators will be back tonight and will be treating the entire 24th floor.

HoLove’s got no love for bed bugs. While Donoho went on to say that the presence of bed bugs was “not the fault of any employee or contractor,” you know everyone is going to be looking sideways at those who work on the 24th floor, especially the managing clerk.

As an FYI, if you see someone scratching themselves incessantly while busy billing hours at Hogan Lovells, you may know who to blame for the firm’s bed bug problem.

#SayNOtoPESTICIDES!

Williamsburg, VA…think twice before selecting hotel without Bed Bugs

Bed Bugs at the Travelodge scare this family over holiday weekend vacation.

January 21, 2016 | by Scott Wise | CBS 6

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. — A mother said her children were now scared to go to sleep after the family stayed at a Williamsburg motel. During their recent stay, Elizabeth Wilcox said she discovered bed bugs in the motel room after she noticed rashes and bites on her children.

“So immediately I flip the mattress just to see all the bed bugs crawling everywhere, there’s so many of them the kids are scratching their legs,” Wilcox told WTKR. “The mattress cover had a zip on it but there were holes covering it so the bed bugs were in the box spring.”

The manager of the Travelodge, off Richmond Road in Williamsburg, said the property did not have a bed bug problem and found no issues when he inspected the room. He said he would order a pest control company to inspect the room.

#SayNOtoPESTICIDES!

 

“All Walls Down” song – The Solution to tropical diseases and the bedbug problem is through Tolerance & Mindfulness of each other

Music and song lead the message and movement to help each other.  Radiate positive vibes with the smash-hit song “All Walls Down”.

toleranceascendinghands.jpg

Enjoy this smash-hit song written by KiltronX and Joe Beaty [Mind Like Water] and produced and recorded by Tony Bongiovi at the famous Power Station Studio.   This song was created to bring awareness of the risk of Chagas disease through bedbugs and kissing bugs (aka “love bugs”).

Chagas disease has already affected as many as 50 million people in the world and as many as 1.5 million people in the U.S. alone.

We are all connected.  If the poor are more exposed to the deadly Chagas disease then we ALL are.  The free roaming love bugs & kissing bugs and undercover bedbugs do not discriminate – nor do they ask for a financial statement before sucking the blood of their victims.

Bedbugs can be found in all states and all cities and love bugs and kissing bugs have spread outward and up through all states bordering the Gulf of Mexico, along the Atlantic coast, the West coast and north.

Dr. Peter Hotez of the National School of Tropical Medicine says “low-income neighborhoods … are at greater risk for infection”.  Because of their predilection for the poor, Hotez calls these infections “the forgotten diseases [Chagas] of forgotten people”.

Chagas disease not only affects humans but also their pets – be it horses, dogs, cats, livestock.  Our pets are among the most innocent and have no protection.

Awareness and preparedness are crucial to saving lives.

#SayNOtoPesticides!

 

Over the river & through the woods – Traveling for the holidays?  Beware of these 5 BEDBUG Hotspots…

December 15, 2015 | Las Vegas Review Journal

Will you be heading to Grandma’s house this holiday season? Or taking a long-awaited vacation in a tropical location? Whether you’re driving over the river and through the woods or flying to a luxury hotel in a premier resort to ski for the week, it pays to take steps to ensure you don’t come home with some unwelcome travel companions — BEDBUGS! 

Check out these five BEDBUG hotspots to be aware of as you travel this holiday season and follow the tips for how you can avoid carrying them home with you…BEDBUGS do not discriminate – it doesn’t matter if your room is $500 per night!

1. Give them a mattress, any mattress! The presence of bed bugs has nothing to do with cleanliness or the quality of your accommodations. They’re as happy and as common in five-star hotels as they are in the guest room at Grandma’s house. As their name implies, bed bugs often frequent mattresses, so as soon as you arrive at your destination, pull back the bedsheets and inspect the mattress seams and box springs for signs of bed bugs. If you see telltale stains, spots or shed bed bug skins, alert hotel management or your host right away.

2. But anywhere is good, really. Bed bugs don’t just stick to the bed, they can infest an entire room. Before you unpack, sit your luggage in the bath tub or on a hard tile floor, and thoroughly inspect your room. Use a flashlight to look behind the headboard, under side tables and in sofas and chairs. Remove cushions from upholstered furniture and look for signs of pests.

3. Hey, nice bags!Bed bugs travel by hitching a ride, and your luggage makes the perfect luxury transport for them to accompany you on your journey home. Once you’ve unpacked, consider placing your suitcases in a plastic trash bag or protective cover for the duration of your stay. Place suitcases on the shelf in your hotel room closet. Inspect your luggage before you leave to go home.

4. They just want to be “clothes” to you. Your vacation wardrobe is also a great spot for bed bugs to hang out — and their eggs to stick around —and wait for their ride to their new home. During your stay, either place worn clothing in a sealed plastic bag or use the hotel’s laundry facilities to give clothes a hot blast through the dryer before packing them up to take home. Once you’re home, immediately run all clothes — even ones you didn’t wear — through a hot dryer for 30 minutes to take care of any bed bugs that did make it home.

5. They still like those bags.Although you took steps to protect your luggage while on your trip, it pays to give them one more good look when you get home. Unpack luggage outside the house and thoroughly inspect it before bringing it inside. Vacuum the inside of luggage before bringing it inside to be put away.

#SayNOtoPESTICIDES!