2014 Volume 60 Issue 4 Pages 362-365
Chagas disease is a zoonotic disease caused by the parasitic protist Trypanosoma cruzi. T. cruzi is transmitted by blood-sucking triatomine insects. Other routes of infection include transfusion, vertical transmission, and contaminated food or drink, such as fresh fruit juice. Chagas disease is only endemic in the Americas, due exclusively to the limited distribution of the insect vectors, whereas a number of patients have been found outside the Americas, particularly among Latin American immigrants. In August 14, 2013, the Japanese Red Cross Society and the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan announced that one blood donor from Latin America had been found to be seropositive for T. cruzi and that blood products prepared from the donated blood had already been delivered to medical institutions. Although later reports denied the occurrence of secondary infection through those blood products, Chagas disease has now become a reality in Japan. Thus, further monitoring and preparedness for Chagas disease are necessary.