In Argentina, the government is stepping up its fight against Chagas Disease -- a disease transmitted by blood sucking bugs, which can prove fatal.
In Argentina, the government is stepping up its fight against Chagas Disease -- a disease transmitted by blood sucking bugs, which can prove fatal. It is estimated that in the region of three million Argentinians have been affected, and the government has declared a national emergency.
SYNOPSIS: In the flat lowlands or 'pampas' of Argentina, the government is making an all out assault on the disease, which is caused by a parasite called Trypanosoma Cruza, and transmitted by the blood sucking Vinchuca bug.
Discovered by the Brazilian microbiologist Carlos Chagas, the disease has become such a problem in Argentina that a military style operation has been set up. This will cover 19 provinces and represents Argentina's biggest attempt yet to beat the disease.
Chagas is endemic in most rural areas of Central and South America, but in Argentina it has become an epidemic and the World Heal the Organisation has now become involved.
The Argentine authorities have been fighting the disease since 1949. Laboratories throughout the country are trying to find more effective ways of controlling it, but as yet there is no drug or vaccine that works against the disease.....The Vinchuca bug is a tough little insect, which by day shelters in the adobe wells and thatched roofs of primitive huts. And at night emerges to bite its ??? sleeping hosts. P???vourite targets are the eyelids.
Once in the bloodstream, the disease affects the heart and condemns the victim to a creeping physical decline and eventual death. With children, the disease strikes more rapidly.
The Vinchuca bug picks up the disease by sucking the blood of an infected mammal. It passes it on to people by depositing faeces at the same time as it sucks the blood. The victim then unwittingly aides the process by scratching the wound. The parasites can live in incubation for up to 20 years before making their presence felt.
Controlling the disease means a lot more than effective insecticides and drugs. It means providing insect-proof houses and eliminating poverty. No small order in South America.