Chagas Disease: Pregnancy-Based Screening to Benefit Mother and Infant

Tuesday, October 27, 2020 - 3:00pm

Chagas disease is a parasitic infection caused by Trypanosoma cruzi. Chagas disease is endemic in Mexico, Central America or South America. Approximately 8-10 million people in Latin America and 300,000 people in the United States have Chagas disease. Chagas disease damages the heart and causes approximately 10,000 deaths yearly. Approximately 30,000-45,000 people in the United States have Chagas cardiomyopathy. Most are unaware of the infection and have no symptoms. The common mode of acquiring Chagas disease is vector-borne. Acute infection is often asymptomatic. Infection is life-long if untreated and, over years or decades, 20% to 40% of people develop Chagas heart or gastrointestinal disease. Infection is also transmitted congenitally. In the United States there are ~40,000 women in the childbearing years with Chagas disease who give birth to ~63-315 infected infants each year. Some infants have signs of infection at birth but none is specific for Chagas disease. Maternal infection can be diagnosed by a commercially-available ELISA testing for T. cruzi IgG. At its cost of ~$50, screening would be cost-saving, whether implemented universally or for at-risk women. Treatment of confirmed infection is curative for infants, prevents transmission in future pregnancies and reduces risk for cardiomyopathy in women in the childbearing years.


Dr. Morven Edwards, MD

Dr. Morven S. Edwards is Professor of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine and an Attending Physician at Texas Children’s Hospital in Houston, Texas.  Dr. Edwards maintains a longstanding interest in group B streptococcal infections and their prevention through immunization.  She has been the recipient of a Cooperative Agreement through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to improve knowledge and practices among healthcare providers about congenital Chagas disease.  
Dr. Edwards is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Infectious Diseases Society of America and the Pediatric Infectious Diseases Society. 

Session type: 
(CEUS) - Recordings will be available on GOLD
Bridge Certificate Eligible