Autochthonous Chagas Disease — Missouri, 2018

George Turabelidze, MD, PhD; Archana Vasudevan, MD; Christian Rojas-Moreno, MD; Susan P. Montgomery, DVM; Molly Baker, MPH; Drew Pratt, MS; Susanne Enyeart


Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. 2020;69(7):193-195. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


On December 13, 2017, the Missouri Department of Health and Senior Services (MDHSS) was notified of a suspected case of Chagas disease in a Missouri woman. The patient had donated blood, and laboratory screening revealed antibodies to Trypanosoma cruzi, the parasite that causes Chagas disease. Evaluation by physicians found no clinical symptoms consistent with Chagas disease. The patient had no travel history that would have suggested a significant risk for Chagas disease risk and had no occupational exposure to the disease agent. She had never received a blood transfusion or organ transplant. Confirmatory testing of the patient's serum at CDC for T. cruzi antibody was consistent with infection. These findings raise the possibility that the exposure to T. cruzi occurred locally (autochthonously) in Missouri. Although the insect vector for the parasite T. cruzi, triatomines (commonly known as "kissing bugs"), has been identified previously in Missouri, no locally acquired human cases of Chagas disease have been identified in the state. Health care providers and public health professionals should be aware of the possibility of locally acquired Chagas disease in the southern United States.