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Chagas Disease

Chagas disease is caused by a parasite* and is spread by the Triatomine bug. This disease and bug are found in Mexico, Central America, and South America, but there have been cases in the United States. It it’s important to be aware of this disease for future travel.


How can I get sick?  

  • Triatomine bugs are the insect that can spread the disease. The blood sucking insects can pass the infection* to humans through a bite. Poop from the insects can also enter a human’s body through an open cut or through the nose and mouth.  

Symptoms in humans:  

There are two phases known as the acute* and chronic* phase.  

Acute Phase* (the first weeks to months of infection) 

Some people may have no symptoms while others may have mild symptoms.  

  • Fever (when your body gets a little hotter than normal) 
  • Feeling very tired 
  • Body pain 
  • Headache 
  • Rash 
  • Not feeling hungry 
  • Diarrhea (runny poop) 
  • Throwing up 
  • Swelling eyelids 

Chronic Phase* (can last a very long time or your entire life) 

  • Heart complications  
  • Enlarged heart 
  • Heart failure 
  • Cardiac arrest 
  • Stomach complications  
  • Enlarged esophagus or colon 

What can I do to stay healthy? 

  • Use insect repellent* 

  • Use bed nets 

  • Wear protective clothing that covers the skin. 
  • Check your surroundings and sleeping area if you’re traveling to an area with Triatomine bugs.  


  • Acute: Your symptoms may come on quickly and may require short-term care. You will get better overtime once treated by your doctor.
  • Chronic: Illness that a person has for a long time or illness that goes away for some time and keeps coming back.
  • Infection: When germs enter your body and begin to increase.
  • Insect Repellent: Product applied to skin, clothing or surfaces to keep insects away.
  • Parasite: A parasite is an organism that lives on or inside another organism, called a host. Parasites can cause diseases in humans or animals.

Learn About Other Diseases

Click below to learn more about the many different diseases that can spread between animals and humans.