In the Los Angeles clinic of Sheba Meymandi, MD, about 20% of Latin American patients with heart failure can trace their illness to a cause many US physicians would never suspect: Chagas disease.
A longtime scourge of poverty in Latin America, the illness is an underrecognized threat in the United States. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that Chagas disease affects 300 000 US residents who have emigrated from Latin American countries and contributes to about 30 000 to 45 000 cases of cardiomyopathy in the United States each year (Bern C and Montgomery SP. Clin Infect Dis. 2009;49:e52-e54).
Kuehn BM. Putting Chagas Disease on the US Radar Screen. JAMA. 2015;313(12):1195-1197. doi:10.1001/jama.2015.1867