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Revista chilena de infectología

Print version ISSN 0716-1018


CANALS, Mauricio et al. What do the numbers tell us about the temporal evolution of Chagas’ disease?. Rev. chil. infectol. [online]. 2017, vol.34, n.2, pp.120-127. ISSN 0716-1018.

Chagas disease remains highly prevalent in Chile, especially between the regions of Arica and Parinacota, and Coquimbo. Since 1999 it is considered that in Chile the vector transmission was interrupted. Under this premise, the epidemiological dynamics should be changing. We analyzed the evolution of the prevalence of Chagas’ disease analyzing 64,995 xenodiagnosis performed in the laboratory of Parasitology of the Faculty of Medicine of the University of Chile between 1949 and 2014. The evolution of the mortalities and incidences from the databases of the Ministry of Health in the periods in which it was analyzed. The rates of domiciliary infestation and the number of vector insects sent to the Public Health Institute and its trypano-triatomine indices were also analyzed. The prevalence of Chagas’ disease in inhabitants of risk areas remained stable in this period as well as mortality. The incidence rate shows a progressive increase with a tendency towards stabilization. A significant decrease in sampling effort was found, declining by two orders of magnitude, especially since 2000. The progressive increase in morbidity had no clear relation to the interruption of the vector chain nor to the greater diagnostic effort occurred in 2009, since it was evident from before. While home infestation declines, reports of intrusion of solitary individuals and wild foci of T. infestans have increased. Trypano-triatomine indices were maintained with high values in all vector species. This study shows a worrying situation, for while on the one hand the interruption of the vector transmission and improvement in the research systems is emphasized, the concern for this disease seems to be decreasing with less diagnostic efforts and lower education at the higher level, and by the other hand the numbers show that the problem if it is not increasing, at least maintains its careless historical magnitude.

Keywords : Chagas disease; epidemiology; Chile.

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