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October 1965

Chagas' Myocarditis

Author Affiliations


From the Cardiopulmonary Laboratory and the George Washington University Division of Medicine, District of Columbia General Hospital, Washington, DC. Chief, Cardiopulmonary Laboratory, District of Columbia General Hospital and Associate Professor of Medicine, George Washington University School of Medicine (Dr. Massumi). Fellow in Medicine, Cardiology, George Washington University Division of Medicine, District of Columbia General Hospital (Dr. Gooch).

Arch Intern Med. 1965;116(4):531-536. doi:10.1001/archinte.1965.03870040045010

HUMAN infection with Trypanosoma cruzi is endemic to South and Central American countries with Brazil and Argentina constituting the areas of highest prevalence. Since its original description by Chagas in 1909 the disease has become recognized as a major health hazard, a leading cause of heart failure, and the most important agent of achalasia in the endemic zones. In the United States the vector Triatoma (kissing bug, assassin bug) is known to exist in a number of states and Tr cruzi-infected triatomids were first discovered in Texas in 1939.1 Since that time infected triatomids have been reported from most of the southwestern and western states.2,3 Transmission of Tr cruzi infection to wild rodents has been demonstrated during the past six years in the states of Maryland,4 Georgia,5 Louisiana,6 and Alabama.7 Indigenous human infection, however, has been extremely rare in this country. Only two documented cases have been reported, both from