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June 8, 1984

Indigenous Chagas' Disease (American Trypanosomiasis) in California

Author Affiliations

From Mercy Hospital, Merced, Calif (Drs Schiffler and Mansur); the Division of Parasitic Diseases, Centers for Disease Control, Atlanta (Dr Navin); and the Infectious Disease Section, California Department of Health Services, Berkeley (Dr Limpakarnjanarat).

JAMA. 1984;251(22):2983-2984. doi:10.1001/jama.1984.03340460061025

CHAGAS' disease (American trypanosomiasis) is an infection caused by the protozoan parasite Trypanosomacruzi. Despite the presence of the parasite in Triatoma insects (the vector of T cruzi) and mammals across the southern United States,1 only two patients with indigenous Chagas' disease have been described2,3; both were infants from Texas in 1955. We report herein the first recognized case of indigenous Chagas' disease in California and the first case reported in the United States since 1955.

Report of a Case  In August 1982, a 56-year-old woman from Lake Don Pedro, Calif, 120 miles east of San Francisco, was admitted to the hospital after 16 days of fever. The patient had lived in east-central California for 19 years. She had traveled outside the United States only once, when she visited the California-Mexico border town of Mexicali for an afternoon in 1978. She had never received blood transfusions, nor did