Revista Panamericana de Salud Pública
Print version ISSN 1020-4989
MALLIMACI, María Cristina et al. Seroprevalence of Chagas' disease in Ushuaia, Argentina, an area without triatomines. Rev Panam Salud Publica [online]. 2001, vol.9, n.3, pp. 169-171. ISSN 1020-4989. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S1020-49892001000300006.
Objective. Determine the seroprevalence of Trypanosoma cruzi infection in Ushuaia, Argentina, which is the southernmost city in the world. Methods. Serum samples were analyzed from 2 991 people, obtained between January 1995 and December 1996. The samples were processed using indirect hemagglutination and either enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay or indirect immunofluorescence. Results. The general seroprevalence of T. cruzi infection was 6.8%. According to the residents' country of origin, prevalence was 41.1% among Bolivians, 5.0% among Argentines, and 0.9% among Chileans. The prevalence found in pregnant women was 5.9%; in compulsory examinations (such as for a job or for immigrants settling permanently in Argentina), it was 6.3%; and in examinations done based on clinical or epidemiological reasons to suspect infection with Chagas' disease, it was 30.8%. Conclusions. There is an alarming level of T. cruzi infection in this region, where the insect vector does not even exist. Given the risk of transmission congenitally and from blood transfusions, controls must be maintained on donated blood. In addition, follow-up of children of infected women should be strengthened so that these children receive early diagnosis and timely treatment of the infection.
Keywords : Trypanosoma cruzi; enfermedad de Chagas; estudios seroepidemiológicos; Argentina.