Chagas disease, which is caused by infection with the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, is known as the silent disease. An estimated 8 million people have the disease and most of them do not know that they are infected.
Chagas disease originated in South America, Central America and Mexico. It is estimated to affect some 8 million people and cause 20,000 deaths every year.
The disease is transmitted through the insect vector in the following countries:
- Costa Rica
- El Salvador
- French Guiana
However, people emigrating from these areas have taken the disease to other parts of the world where it was previously unknown. Today there are people with Chagas disease in the United States, Europe, Canada, Japan and Australia.