by Picado A, Cruz I, Redard-Jacot M, Redard-Jacot M, Schijman AG, Torrico F, Sosa-Estani S, Katz Z, Ndung’u JM. BMJ Global Health 2018, 3: e001069. doi:10.1136/bmjgh-2018-001069.
Summary: It is estimated that between 8,000 and 15,000 Trypanosoma cruzi-infected babies are born every year to infected mothers in Chagas disease endemic countries. Prompt diagnosis and treatment of these cases would have a positive clinical and epidemiological impact. Diagnosis is currently based on microscopy at birth and serology at 8 to 12 months after delivery, but there is a lack of access to this already sub-optimal algorithm. Molecular diagnostic tools to detect parasite DNA could be an alternative or complement to current diagnostic methods, but implementation in endemic regions is limited. The authors analyze the burden of congenital Chagas disease in Latin America, and the potential use of molecular tests to improve access to early diagnosis and treatment of T. cruzi-infected newborns.