Continuing evidence of Chagas disease along the Texas-Mexico border

Melissa S. Nolan, David Aguilar, Eric L. Brown, Sarah M. Gunter, Shannon E. Ronca, Craig L. Hanis, Kristy O. Murray

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: Chagas disease is a chronic parasitic infection that progresses to dilated cardiomyopathy in 30% of human cases. Public health efforts target diagnosing asymptomatic cases, as therapeutic efficacy diminishes as irreversible tissue damage progresses. Physician diagnosis of Chagas disease cases in the United States is low, partially due to lack of awareness of the potential burden in the United States. Methodology/Principal findings: The current study tested a patient cohort of 1,196 Starr County, Texas residents using the Hemagen Chagas ELISA Kit as a preliminary screening assay. Samples testing positive using the Hemagen test were subjected to additional confirmatory tests. Two patients (0.17%) without previous Chagas disease diagnosis were identified; both had evidence of acquiring disease in the United States or along the Texas-Mexico border. Conclusions/Significance: The Texas-Mexico border is a foci of Chagas disease human cases, with a local disease burden potentially twice the national estimate of Hispanic populations. It is imperative that physicians consider persons with residential histories along the Texas-Mexico border for Chagas disease testing.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0006899
JournalPLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Nolan et al.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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