Chagas Disease and Neglected Tropical Diseases: Causes, Treatments, and Cures

Neglected Tropical Diseases [NTDs] collectively affect more than 1 BILLION people worldwide, primarily in impoverished communities. Despite treatments being available and effective for use against certain diseases, a lack of resources, infrastructure and political will has left numerous populations vulnerable to preventable suffering.

Chagas disease is caused by unicellular Trypanosoma cruzi (T. cruzi) parasites that are transmitted by a kissing bug vectors to humans. Chagas is a very slow progressing disease that ultimately results in cardiac failure or megaesophagus or megacolon symptoms. It is estimated that about five to seven million people worldwide currently have a T. cruzi infection, with about 300,000 of these in the United States. Approximately 12,000 per year die from Chagas disease in the United States alone.

In this video Q&A, Dr. Laura-Isobel McCall from the University of Oklahoma walks us through the various aspects of Chagas disease, providing an overview of strategies for preventing, mitigating, treating, and ultimately eliminating, NTDs.

(0:11) Question 1- How would you define a Neglected Tropical Disease [NTD]?

(1:19) Question 2- What is Chagas disease?

(2:21) Question 3- How are NTD outbreaks detected? What is the state of diagnostics for NTDs, and what areas are open for improvement?

(3:35) Question 4- What sort of treatment options exist for NTDs? What are the most promising ways to better cure or prevent NTDs in the future?

(5:13) Question 5- What factors contribute to the appearance and persistence of NTDs?

(6:42) Question 6- What can be done about NTDs?




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