Chagas disease is generally caused by parasites like bugs, sometimes called kissing bugs. These blood sucking bugs carry the infection. When these bugs bite on the face, they leave infected waste and the person gets the infection when they rub their nose or face.
These bug bites are the main cause of this disease. Chagas disease is spread by various other activities like a blood transfusion, food that is contaminated and even by a mother to a baby during pregnancy. In some cases, Chagas disease can be transferred via donation of an organ.
The symptoms of Chagas are quite typically fever, rashes over the body and swelling of the eyelids. Some people might even experience flu like symptoms.
There are various tests available for Chagas, most importantly physical exams and a blood test. Further, one might need to undergo other test to check whether the disease has infected the intestines and the heart.
Chagas is completely treatable and the symptoms should be treated as early as possible. If they are not treated, they can cause heart and intestine problem at a later stage.
There are two stages of the Chagas disease, the acute stage and the chronic stage. This acute phase lasts for a few weeks or even some months. The first few months and weeks go unnoticed because they are generally free of symptoms, other than the ones that are similar to flu, like fever, body aches, headaches, loss of appetite, etc. In some cases, the symptoms can also be mild enlargement of the spleen or liver.
There is actually no particular way that can prevent the Chagas disease and there is no vaccine for the disease at this time. What one can do, is ensure that there are no parasites in the area that they are living in. Generally, you need to invest in mosquito nets and other such objects when living in an endemic area.
The treatment cost for Chagas disease depends upon how the person wants to manage this disease. One way is to go for anti-parasitic and symptomatic treatment. The anti-parasitic treatment works very well during the acute phase, but the treatment might be limited during the chronic stage.