Chagas disease risk factors

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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]; Associate Editor(s)-in-Chief: Yazan Daaboul, M.D.


Risk factors for Chagas disease include residence in Central or South America, living in old houses with either mud and sticks wall constructions or straw roofs, ingestion of contaminated water, or receiving blood transfusions / organ donation from individuals in regions with high endemicity. Neonatal risk is highest among those who breastfeed from bleeding / cracked nipples of infected mothers and those who are delivered from seropositive mothers with active disease.

Risk Factors

Risk factors for Chagas disease include:[1]

  • Living in Central or South America
  • Residing in a house constructed before the year 2000
  • Exposure to either wall constructions composed of mud and sticks or straw roofs
  • Ingestion of contaminated water
  • Living in a hut where reduvid bugs live in the walls
  • Poverty
  • Receiving either a blood transfusion or organ transplant from a person in regions with high endemicity
  • Maternal seropositivity and exacerbation of infection during pregnancy (risk of vertical transmission and development of congenital Chagas disease)
  • Bleeding/cracked nipples of infected mother during breastfeeding
  • Immunosuppression


  1. Bern C, Kjos S, Yabsley MJ, Montgomery SP (2011). "Trypanosoma cruzi and Chagas' Disease in the United States". Clin Microbiol Rev. 24 (4): 655–81. doi:10.1128/CMR.00005-11. PMC 3194829. PMID 21976603.

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