Ministry of Health of the Province of Neuquen

This is an infection caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, which can cause serious heart and digestive complications.

On Argentina’s National Day Without Chagas, the Ministry of Health of the Province of Neuquén announces that the province is still free of carriers of Chagas infection caused by the Trypanosoma cruzi parasite. To do this, at the regional level, an integrated approach to this pathology is carried out through the interdisciplinary work of medical teams. This also results in a low prevalence of Chagas disease among pregnant women and a small number of cases of vertical transmission.

Chagas disease is an infection caused by the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, which can cause serious heart and digestive complications that can only be detected by a blood test.

The most common forms of transmission include: vector transfer (when these insects – vinchuks – bite, defecate and lay the parasite next to the bite, and the person, combing, brings the parasite into the wound); And vertical transmission (when a person of childbearing potential who is infected with Chagas passes it on to their child during pregnancy or childbirth).

It is important to clarify that Chagas disease is not transmitted sexually or through breastfeeding. The most common form of transmission in Argentina is vertical/congenital.

Regarding the province, Health Minister Andrea Peve said: “Since 2001, we have continued to be certified vector-free by the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), which means that insects found in the territory, as long as they are now free of the parasite, causing Chagas disease.

In addition, the head of the regional health department noted: “Chagas disease can be prevented, cured and cured if it is detected in time, and the sooner it is detected, the greater the chance of a cure.”

National Law No. 26281 establishes that all health care institutions must provide free access to examinations, diagnosis and treatment, as well as conduct appropriate diagnostic tests for pregnant women during examinations of pregnant women.

Thus, in 2022, Chagas screening coverage for pregnant women in the province was more than 95 percent, of which only 0.8 percent of pregnant women tested positive. In addition, one case of congenital/vertical Chagas disease was reported and treated promptly. This is possible thanks to the early detection, monitoring and treatment carried out in Neuquen’s public health system.

In addition, in order to remain a vector-free province of Chagas disease, various actions are being taken at the ministerial level by the Department of Epidemiology, the Department of Medical Information, the Department of Environmental Health, the Department of Maternal and Childhood, the Central Laboratory and health institutions.

Similarly, the province has entomological surveillance for Triatoma infestans, which has tested negative for Trypanosoma cruzi in homes and surrounding areas.

On the other hand, perinatal care professionals in the province have also begun training on the Elimination of Mother-to-Child Transmission (ETMI Plus) strategy. It deals with the transmission of infections such as HIV, syphilis, Chagas and hepatitis B.

The ETMI Plus initiative aims to achieve and sustain the elimination of mother-to-child transmission of these infections that pose a public health risk, while at the same time contributing to the implementation of the principles and lines of action for universal healthcare access and universal health coverage.

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