COVID-19: an opportunity of systematic integration for Chagas disease. Example of a community-based approach within the Bolivian population in Barcelona
Background As a Neglected Tropical Disease associated with Latin America, Chagas Disease (CD) is little known in non-endemic territories of the Americas, Europe and Western Pacific, making its control challenging, with limited detection rates, healthcare access and consequent epidemiological silence. This is reinforced by its biomedical characteristics—it is usually asymptomatic—and the fact that it mostly affects people with low social and financial resources. Because CD is mainly a chronic infection, which principally causes a cardiomyopathy and can also cause a prothrombotic status, it increases the risk of contracting severe COVID-19. Methods In order to get an accurate picture of CD and COVID-19 overlapping and co-infection, this operational research draws on community-based experience and participative-action-research components. It was conducted during the Bolivian elections in Barcelona on a representative sample of that community. Results The results show that 55% of the people interviewed had already undergone a previous T. cruzi infection screening—among which 81% were diagnosed in Catalonia and 19% in Bolivia. The prevalence of T. cruzi infection was 18.3% (with 3.3% of discordant results), the SARS-CoV-2 22.3% and the coinfection rate, 6%. The benefits of an integrated approach for COVID-19 and CD were shown, since it only took an average of 25% of additional time per patient and undoubtedly empowered the patients about the co-infection, its detection and care. Finally, the rapid diagnostic test used for COVID-19 showed a sensitivity of 89.5%. Conclusions This research addresses CD and its co-infection, through an innovative way, an opportunity of systematic integration, during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Chagas disease; COVID-19; Bolivia
Gómez Prat J, Ouaarab Essadek H, Esperalba J, Serrat FZ, Guiu IC, Goterris L, et al. COVID-19: an opportunity of systematic integration for Chagas disease. Example of a community-based approach within the Bolivian population in Barcelona. BMC Infect Dis. 2022 Mar 28;22:298.
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