'New AIDS of the Americas' strikes in U.S. backyard
Chagas disease may be the "AIDS of the Americas," according to an editorial in PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases, a periodical to which you're now happy you don't subscribe. The South American parasite enlarges the heart or intestines in about a quarter of its victims, and can only be treated by a strong drug attack in the first three months. It is spread by blood-sucking insects and can be passed from mother to child. Approximately eight million people in Central and South America and 300,000 people in the U.S. have the disease. It isn't a new disease; it's been around long enough to have been suspected of killing Charles Darwin.