Term Paper - Term Paper Diseases By Austin Varner Table of...

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Term Paper: Diseases By: Austin Varner
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Table of Contents Chagas Disease Page 1 Malaria Page 2 Plague Page 3 Epidemic Typhus Page 4 Comparisons Page 5 Citations Page 7
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Chagas Disease Chagas disease, also known as American Trypanosomiasis , is a human tropical parasitic disease. It is named after the Brazilian physician Carlos Chagas, who discovered it in 1909. Chagas disease is caused by its main pathogenic agent Trypanosoma cruzi . Carrying this agent is the bug most commonly known as kissing bugs. This disease can be found all over the world. Most people who have this disease are located in the Americas, mainly in rural areas of Latin America where poverty prevails itself. However, the impact of Chagas disease is not limited to Latin America, but can also be found in Mexico, Central America, South America, and the United States. Charles Darwin was thought to have this disease after traveling to these parts of the world. It is estimated that as many as 11 million people have Chagas disease, most of whom do not even know they are infected. Chagas disease is contracted through the bites of parasites most commonly known as kissing bugs. These bugs are found in houses made from materials such as mud, adobe, or straw. The bugs hide in cracks in the walls and roofs during the day and come into the homes at night to feed on humans. They have a tendency of feeding around the face and mouth, hence their name. Kissing bugs become infected by biting another animal or person that is already infected. After biting and sucking the blood of the victim, they pass on the pathogenic agent, Trypanosoma cruzi, by defecating on them. The bug feces then enter the body through mucous membranes or breaks in the skin and infect the person. Although kissing bugs are the most common way of contracting Chagas disease, people can also develop it in ways such as the consumption of uncooked food, blood transfusion, and organ transplantation. There are two phases of Chagas disease: the acute phase and the chronic phase. The acute phase lasts for the first few weeks or months of infection. The symptoms of this phase can include fever, fatigue, body aches, headache, rash, loss of appetite, diarrhea, and vomiting. Physical signs of this phase can include enlargement of the spleen, swollen glands, and swelling where the parasite bit. During the chronic phase, which lasts for decades or even life, some people develop symptoms of cardiac and intestinal complications. These complications can lead to difficulties with eating, and even worse heart failure. Approximately 30% of infected and untreated people will develop chronic Chagas disease. Since most of the symptoms are common in the areas of the body that are infected, many people do not even know they are infected.
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