Acute Chagas disease associated with ingestion of contaminated food in Brazilian western Amazon

Débora Raysa Teixeira de Sousa, Jorge Augusto de Oliveira Guerra, Jessica Vanina Ortiz, Katia do Nascimento Couceiro, Monica Regina Hosanahh da Silva e Silva, Alba Regina Jorge Brandão, Elsa Guevara, Ana Ruth Lima Arcanjo, Edival Ferreira de Oliveira Júnior, Susan Smith-Doria, Victor Irungu Mwangi, Rômulo Freire Morais, George Allan Villarouco Silva, Israel Molina, Henrique Silveira, João Marcos Bemfica Barbosa Ferreira, Maria das Graças Vale Barbosa Guerra

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Objective: To describe clinical, epidemiological and management information on cases of acute Chagas disease (ACD) by oral transmission in the state of Amazonas in western Amazon. Methods: Manual and electronic medical records of patients diagnosed with ACD at the Fundação de Medicina Tropical Doutor Heitor Vieira Dourado (FMT-HVD) were included. Results: There were 147 cases of acute CD registered from 10 outbreaks that occurred in the state of Amazonas between 2004 and 2022. The transmission pathway was through oral route, with probable contaminated palm fruit juice (açaí and/or papatuá), and involved people from the same family, friends or neighbours. Of 147 identified cases, 87 (59%) were males; cases were aged 10 months to 82 years. The most common symptom was the febrile syndrome (123/147; 91.8%); cardiac alterations were present in 33/100 (33%), (2/147; 1.4%) had severe ACD with meningoencephalitis, and 12 (8.2%) were asymptomatic. Most cases were diagnosed through thick blood smear (132/147; 89.8%), a few (14/147; 9.5%) were diagnosed by serology and (1/147; 0.7%) by polymerase chain reaction (PCR) and blood culture. In all these outbreaks, 74.1% of the patients were analysed by PCR, and Trypanosoma cruzi TcIV was detected in all of them. No deaths were recorded. The incidence of these foci coincided with the fruit harvest period in the state of Amazonas. Conclusion: The occurrence of ACD outbreaks in the Amazon affected individuals of both sexes, young adults, living in rural and peri-urban areas and related to the consumption of regional foods. Early diagnosis is an important factor in surveillance. There was a low frequency of cardiac alterations. Continuous follow-up of most patients was not carried out due to difficulty in getting to specialised centres; therefore, little is known about post-treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalTropical Medicine and International Health
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023


  • Açaí
  • Chagas disease outbreaks, clinical epidemiology
  • oral transmission
  • Trypanosoma cruzi


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