A Silent Emergency

Chagas Disease

Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi)

Bolivia, 2014

Chagas disease is the most common chronic parasitic disease in Bolivia. There are between 8 to 10 million patients with chronic Chagas disease in Latin America, 1 million are in Bolivia. In some places in the valleys of Cochabamba, Tarija, and Zucre 30% to 40% of people in the small villages are infected. Most of them are in Latin America, from Mexico to southern Argentina and Chile. But the disease is already globalized, with cases in Europe, the United States, Asian countries, and even Australia. Transmission occurs in four distinct ways: insect vector, by the bite of the bug, through blood transfusion, congenital transmission, and also oral transmission. Currently there are only two medicines for Chagas disease, benznidazole and nifurtimox, medicines developed a long time ago, in the 70’s. These treatments also take very long and have many adverse effects. In Bolivia DNDi is conducting clinical studies, working since 2011 to develop a new treatment for Chagas. A treatment that is safer, more effective, and simpler, and one that can respond to the demand of ten million people infected worldwide.