Chagas disease, need and progress made in implementing donor blood screening in the United States.



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Background: Chagas disease is a parasitic infection caused by Trypanosoma cruzi affecting 11 million people worldwide. The condition can be acquired via exposure of a wound or mucosa to infected feces from a reduviid bug, blood transfusion or congenitally. It is estimated that there are between 50,000-100,000 infected individuals in the United States.\r\nMethods: This is a narrative review of medical and veterinary literature published in peer reviewed journals in either English or Spanish language. The specific aims of this review are to evaluate the risks for acquiring Chagas disease, needs, options, and associated cost for the implementation of a blood donor screening program for T. cruzi in the United States.\r\nResults: There have been fifteen documented cases of acute Chagas disease in the United States, ten of which were associated with blood product transfusions or solid organ transplants. The FDA approved a T. cruzi ELISA test for blood and solid organ donor screening in the US but has not approved any confirmatory test to this date.\r\nConclusions: The availability of a single screening test for T. cruzi allows blood banks\r\nto screen for T. cruzi without giving them the ability to re-introduce false-positive donors\r\ninto the donor pool. Education of the general public as well as the medical community is\r\nneeded as Chagas disease is rarely seen in the US.