Chagas disease is an emerging health concern in the United States. An estimated 40,000 reproductive-age women living in the United States have chronic Chagas disease, and most are not aware of the infection. One to 5% of mothers with chronic Chagas disease transmit infection to their newborns. Ten to 40% of newborn infants with congenital Chagas disease have clinical signs at birth, but there are no features unique to or highly suggestive of Chagas disease. Neonates without clinical signs at birth remain at risk for the long-term and potentially fatal cardiac complications of untreated congenital infection. Molecular testing is the most sensitive approach for establishing the diagnosis of congenital Chagas disease in the first 2 months of life. Treatment of congenital Chagas disease is well tolerated in young infants and usually results in cure. Routine screening of at-risk women during pregnancy is needed to identify maternal infection and enable early assessment and treatment for congenital transmission of Trypanosoma cruzi in infants.
KeywordsChagas disease Trypanosoma cruzi Congenital infection
The findings and conclusions in this report are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official views of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention of the Department of Health and Human Services.
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