How is acute Chagas disease (American trypanosomiasis) treated?

Updated: Apr 26, 2019
  • Author: Louis V Kirchhoff, MD, MPH; Chief Editor: Pranatharthi Haran Chandrasekar, MBBS, MD  more...
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Answer

All patients with acute Chagas disease, including infants with congenital infection and persons with reactivation of chronic infections due to immunosuppression, should be treated with either benznidazole or nifurtimox.

In general, the younger the patient and the closer to acquisition of the infection, the higher the probability of parasitologic cure. Babies with congenital Chagas disease have the greatest chance for cure. Data from Argentina show that the cure rate exceeds 90% if treatment is given within the first year of life. [147] Some sources have stated that the overall parasitologic cure rate in persons with acute Chagas disease is 70%, although the author is unaware of specific data that support this estimate.

The usefulness of corticosteroids or interferon-γ in patients with acute Chagasic myocarditis or meningoencephalitis has not been established.


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