Daily Archives: December 28, 2009

A Chagas’ Disease Primer: Part 2

If you wish to read the Chagas’ Disease primer in order, click here to go to Part 1 and follow the links.

OK, where were we?

Chagas’ Disease is caused by the protozoan parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, and is spread by the bite of something called the kissing or assassin bug. We compared it to malaria, another protozoan, vector-borne disease.

But whereas most vector-borne diseases are spread via the saliva of the vector (the parasite malaria, the bacterium Lyme disease, the virus Yellow Fever), Chagas’ Disease is spread by feces of the assassin bug. The bug defecates while it eats, depositing its parasite-laden feces onto the host’s skin. When the host scratches the area, rubbing the feces  into the wound made by the bite, he (or she) becomes infected.

The Assassin Bug: Approximately 2 cm. of repugnant, disease-spreading ugliness