Chagas' Disease: Clinical course, acute stage

on 11.12.08 with 0 comments

Most infections are initially asymptomatic. Acute symptoms occur more frequently in children than in adults. Dissemination of the parasite from the inoculation site may go unnoticed but may also give rise to acute illness with muscle pain, local or generalised oedema, swollen liver, spleen and lymph nodes. Moderate fever is almost always present in symptomatic cases and may persist for a long time, two or even four months. Sometimes there is also acute inflammation of the heart (myocarditis) with arrythmias, decreased blood pressure, and heart failure. As with other forms of myocarditis the echocardiogram is frequently abnormal. There is low QRS-voltage, prolonged PR- and/or QT-interval, T-wave abnormalities. Rarely there are ventricular extrasystoles or atrial fibrillation (the prognosis is poor if this occurs). Acute inflammation of the brain and meninges (meningo-encephalitis) occurs, chiefly in young children. Inflammation of the heart and brain may be fatal. There is pronounced lymphocytosis and monocytosis. It is at this stage that therapy with nifurtimox or benznidazole is generally still capable of destroying the parasite.

Category: Medicine Notes



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