Tag Archives: Peru

Pan American Zoonotic Research and Prevention(PAZ) is looking for donations

Give to PAZ and Feel Warm All Winter Long, Literally.

  Posted on October 17, 2013 by PAZ

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Our COO is on her way to Lima.

Give $75 to PAZ before October 24 and we will send you a fashionable traditional Peruvian alpaca  wool hat.

Give $125 and we will send you two!

Click on the hat to donate through gofundme.comperuvian hat

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New post at PAZ (Pan American Zoonotic Resarch and Prevention.





New Post at Pan American Zoonotic Research and Prevention

New Post at Pan American Zoonotic Research and Prevention

It’s tough work in remote locations. 

Chagas’ Disease is NOT the new AIDS: Part I


It is a great picture of the bug, though. Why do biting arthropods always have their portraits taken while posing on human flesh?

Chagas’ Disease, while being a medical nightmare, is not the new AIDS.

  • The first, and perhaps biggest problem with this article is calling Chagas’ Disease the “new” anything. Chagas’ disease was discovered in 1909 by a brilliant Brazilian scientist, Carlos Chagas. Chagas’ discovery was justly recognized for this great discovery during his own lifetime.
  • Chagas’ disease is like AIDS, in that it targets certain populations, but that is where the similarity stops. Chagas’ disease is spread by a vector (bugs of the family Reduviidae) that is exquisitely evolved to infect the poor, as it is related to low-quality housing. AIDS does target the poor of the world more than the rich, but there are certain groups that AIDS targeted, or continues to target, that have nothing to do with economic standing. AIDS is not transmitted by arthropod vectors (though there was concern in the early years of the pandemic), but by sexual contact and contaminated transfusions and medical equipment. Chagas’ disease can be spread by transfusion, but this risk is decreasing. As of a few years ago,around two decades after the blood supply began being screened for HIV,  the blood supply in the US began being screened for Chagas’ disease.
  • Chagas’ disease is called a Neglected Tropical Disease. These are diseases that have high prevalence in the hotter regions of the globe, affect a large number of people but yet do not get a lot of attention from the press, their governments, NGOs, and even much of the local population. For example, many residents of Lima (where the power is) don’t even know what Chagas’ disease is, even though it afflicts a large number of Peruvians. Why?  It doesn’t occur in Lima, and public education about the disease does not extend to those who won’t get it, even though they may be the ones most able to help.
  • Stigma: Yes, it sucks to get AIDS or Chagas’ or both together. But tell me from your heart of hearts: Which would you rather tell your co-workers and parents–that you’ve contracted HIV or that you’ve contracted Chagas’. I’m betting on Chagas’. 30 years into the epidemic, and HIV/AIDS still carries a burden unmatched by any other disease.
  • Research funding: No comparison. HIV/AIDS has been a research juggernaut over much of the pandemic. As a result, we’ve made brilliant and amazing progress in treatment and prevention of the disease. Chagas’ disease is still treated by the same two lousy drugs that were used over a decade ago. Some research is being done on new treatments, but I you’d be embarrassed to see the shoestring some of those labs run on. Moreover, most of these studies involve using drugs that were already approved for other indications, such as anti-fungals and anti-malarials.(They ain’t much money to make sellin’ drugs to po’ folk in the developin’ world.)

    No mention of Chagas' disease here.

    No mention of Chagas’ disease here.

Where I stayed, the unexpected Brigitte Bardot connection, and a few pictures

Is Tick-Borne Disease Significant in Peru?

That’s what I’m here to find out. It certainly seems like it is present in the dogs. We had a lot of positive cases in the north.

The blood tests we ran

The dogs were treated for ticks and fleas, and given oral anti-parasitics against intestinal worms. The clinic was organized by the Asoc. Humanitaria San Francisco De Asis, which incidentally, receives money from Brigitte Bardot.

Ms. Bardot, in spite of being convicted 5 times for “inciting hatred” in France (against immigrants, apparently ), has a long history of working for the welfare of animals. Life is complicated.







This is where I stayed in Colan.

Who says they don´t love their pets in other countries?

Does this picture require narration?

Can I say third world anymore? (The rules change so often that I lose track)

This man drives a mototaxi (picture coming shortly), a three-wheeled motorcyle converted into a passenger-carrying vehicle. Fares are typically 2 soles ($0.68). There are hundreds plying the streets of Paita, the port town where this picture was taken.

The St. Francis of Assisi Humane Society of Colan set up a clinic. Dogs were given a dose of oral anti-parasitics and a spot-on treatment against fleas and ticks, and then agreed to have blood taken to check for heartworm, Lyme, and ehrlichiosis. Not surprisingly, their is no Lyme disease (that´s our disease), nor did I find any heartworm (mosquitoes don´t do well in the desert).

Are there other problems?

Stay tuned….

One Week Until Peru!

The American Deer Tick, vector of Lyme Disease

Our research staff is heading to Peru next week.
There will be some Chagas’ research, but the main focus of this trip will be determining the prevalence of the vector-borne disease known as ehrlichiosis.
Unlike Chagas’ disease, infection with ehrlichia is spread by an arthropod that is well-known to Americans as the tick. Likewise, ehrlichia (which isn’t really one disease, but three–more on this later) is also present in the US. Here is the most up-to-date graph I could find on the web:

Annual cases of Ehrlichia in the US

A friend has said that there are too many ugly bug pictures on this blog. For her, I present this picture of Peru:

Somewhere over the rainbow, bugs may be hiding