American trypanosomiasis is also known as Chagas disease. It is an inflammatory, infectious disease caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, which is found in the feces of the triatomine bug. If left untreated, Chagas disease can cause serious heart and digestive problems.
The acute phase of Chagas disease often lasts for weeks or months. The signs and symptoms are usually mild, including:
Swelling at the infection site
Loss of appetite
Nausea, diarrhea or vomiting
Enlargement of your liver or spleen
Signs and symptoms of the chronic phase of Chagas disease may occur 10 to 20 years after initial infection. They may include:
Congestive heart failure
Sudden cardiac arrest
Difficulty swallowing due to enlarged esophagus
Abdominal pain or constipation due to enlarged colon
Treatment of Chagas disease focuses on killing the parasite in acute infection and managing signs and symptoms in later stages. You can take steps to prevent the infection, too.