• Categories
  • Archives

Sugar Cane Juice Causes Deadly Outbreak of Chagas in Brazil

Contaminated sugar cane juice is thought to be the source of a Brazilian outbreak of Chagas disease, a potentially fatal parasitic disease normally transmitted to people by insect bites.

In the past few days, health officials in the state of Santa Catarina have recorded 45 cases of patients developing symptoms of Chagas disease after drinking the juice. At least five of the patients died.


The patients initially reported having fever, migraine, and muscle pain, with some going on to develop jaundice, abdominal pain, internal bleeding, fluid in the lungs and heart failure.


Blood tests confirmed the presence of Trypanosoma cruzi, the parasite that causes Chagas disease, in 31 of the 45 suspected cases.


The disease is usually spread to people when insects called assassin or kissing bugs bite them, but researchers believe that food and drink that have been contaminated by the parasite could be an alternative route of infection.


So far though, the mechanism is not known.


Sonia Gumes Andrade, who studies Chagas disease at the Gonçalo Moniz Research Institute says that since the 1960s, there have been a number of ‘micro-epidemics’ of the disease in which the kissing bug was not recorded. She adds that the current outbreak is the most significant in terms of the number of cases.


In 2002, Andrade demonstrated that the parasite could be transmitted orally.


“We introduced Trypanosoma cruzi through a tube directly to the stomach of mice and we observed that the parasite not only survives in the gastric juice, but also is able to infect the animal,” she said.


Previously, scientists thought the gastric juice would destroy the parasite.


Brazil’s Ministry of Health has launched an investigation to find the source of contamination and is warning people of the threat.


Chagas disease infects an estimated 12 million people in Latin America, killing tens of thousands each year.


Science and Development Network
www.scidev.net

Tags:

  • Show Comments (0)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

comment *

  • name *

  • email *

  • website *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Ads

You May Also Like

Lula’s US$ 856 Billion Growth Plan Will Start Only After He Leaves Office

From the total 1.59 trillion Brazilian reais (US$ 856 billion) forecasted for investment in ...

With New Tea Line, Brazil Gourmet Tries to Break Out of Ethnic Market

Brazil  Gourmet, billed as an importer of premium fruit nectars from Brazil, is expanding ...

Argentina Tries to Broker Peace in Brazil/Venezuela War

Argentine President Nestor Kirchner called Thursday, July 5, on his Brazilian counterpart Luiz Inácio ...

Brazil Calls US Farm Subsidies ‘Curse on Trade’

Brazil’s Minister of Foreign Relations, Celso Amorim, stressed that priority will be given this ...

Brazil Politics: Three Cheers for Marina Silva!

Welcome back Marina Silva! By announcing her resignation from the Workers Party (PT), she ...

Talent Is Good, But You Need a Team to Win the Cup, Says Brazil’s Coach

What needs to win World Cup title? Brazil coach Carlos Alberto Parreira is sure, ...

Brazilian NGO is embroidering the Pope's bed sheets

Brazilian Hands Weave the Sheets the Pope Will Sleep on in Brazil

In the hands of four embroiderers from Potim, a city with 14,000 inhabitants in ...

Brazil’s Light For All Served 375,000. There Are Another 625,000 In Line.

Since its implantation in 2003, the Light for All Program in Brazil has created ...

Brazil Gearing Up for 2005

The Brazilian industries plan to invest more in 2005. According to a research disclosed ...