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March 2017

A Study in Trypanosomiasis—Carlos Chagas and His Unique Approach

Author Affiliations
  • 1Rutgers New Jersey Medical School, Newark
  • 2University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
JAMA Dermatol. 2017;153(3):262. doi:10.1001/jamadermatol.2016.0508

Born in 1878 in the state of Minas Gerais, Brazil, Carlos Justiniano Riberio das Chagas completed his medical education at the School of Medicine of Rio de Janeiro. In 1907, Chagas moved nearly 500 miles away to Lassance, a small tropical town near the Sao Francisco River in Brazil, where a malaria outbreak was ongoing. He noticed numerous hematophagous bugs in the walls of the cottages in the town, which he proceeded to isolate. This led to Chagas’ most notable achievement: his discovery of the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, the cause of American trypanosomiasis or Chagas disease.1

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