Posts tagged chagas

Fatal Neglect
Chagas: Silent Killer

In Fatal Neglect: The Global Health Revolution’s Forgotten Patients, VII photographers Seamus Murphy, Venetia Dearden, Ron Haviv, and John Stanmeyer document the impact of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, the three deadliest neglected tropical diseases — (visceral leishmaniasis (kala azar), Human African Trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), and Chagas — and vaccine-preventable diseases.

Chagas: Silent Killer
Photo: Chagas diseases in Paraguay 2012 © Seamus Murphy/VII
Fatal NeglectChagas: Silent Killer 
Though little known in the rest of the world, Chagas disease is far and away Latin America’s deadliest parasitic disease, affecting 10 million people worldwide. The disease spread by the bite of the so-called “kissing bug,” Chagas can lie undetected for years before it causes severe heart and gastrointestinal problem that can ultimately kill those who do not receive treatment.
Only two drugs are available to treat the disease, both developed over 40 years ago and not specifically for Chagas. It is possible to both diagnose and treat Chagas, but in too many cases, people living in the isolated regions where the disease proliferates cannot access the care and testing they need to protect themselves.
Since 1999, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been working with Chagas patients in numerous countries and advocating for more targeted research and development, along with more aggressive national health policies. VII Photo’s Seamus Murphy visited Paraguay to document the impact of Chagas, examining the causes and the consequences of a disease that has been known, for too long, as the “silent killer.”

Photo: Chagas diseases in Paraguay 2012 © Seamus Murphy/VII

Fatal Neglect
Chagas: Silent Killer 

Though little known in the rest of the world, Chagas disease is far and away Latin America’s deadliest parasitic disease, affecting 10 million people worldwide. The disease spread by the bite of the so-called “kissing bug,” Chagas can lie undetected for years before it causes severe heart and gastrointestinal problem that can ultimately kill those who do not receive treatment.

Only two drugs are available to treat the disease, both developed over 40 years ago and not specifically for Chagas. It is possible to both diagnose and treat Chagas, but in too many cases, people living in the isolated regions where the disease proliferates cannot access the care and testing they need to protect themselves.

Since 1999, Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) has been working with Chagas patients in numerous countries and advocating for more targeted research and development, along with more aggressive national health policies. VII Photo’s Seamus Murphy visited Paraguay to document the impact of Chagas, examining the causes and the consequences of a disease that has been known, for too long, as the “silent killer.”

Fatal Neglect:  The Global Health Revolution’s Forgotten Patients

Today we’re launching a six-part film series that tells the stories of patients left behind by the global health revolution. VII Photo Agency’s Seamus Murphy, Venetia Dearden, Ron Haviv, and John Stanmeyer document the impact of multidrug-resistant tuberculosis, the three deadliest neglected tropical diseases — (visceral leishmaniasis (kala azar), Human African Trypanosomiasis (sleeping sickness), and Chagas — and vaccine-preventable diseases.

Photo: Paraguay © Anna Surinyach
Fighting Neglect
MSFhas taken a stand for the millions of people affected by visceral leishmaniasis, sleeping sickness and Chagas. These diseases are neglected by drug developers, policy makers, and media, making it difficult to get patients the treatment they need. Treatment is possible with the existing medical tools and drugs, but additional research and development toward new and more effective diagnostics and treatments are desperately needed to address the overwhelming neglect of people whose needs are not met by pharmaceutical companies.
Learn more about neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in our Special Report.

Photo: Paraguay © Anna Surinyach

Fighting Neglect

MSFhas taken a stand for the millions of people affected by visceral leishmaniasis, sleeping sickness and Chagas. These diseases are neglected by drug developers, policy makers, and media, making it difficult to get patients the treatment they need. Treatment is possible with the existing medical tools and drugs, but additional research and development toward new and more effective diagnostics and treatments are desperately needed to address the overwhelming neglect of people whose needs are not met by pharmaceutical companies.


Learn more about neglected tropical diseases (NTDs) in our Special Report.

Fighting Neglect: Chagas:

Chagas is a parasitic disease found on the American continent, where it affects an estimated 8 to 10 million people and claims up to 12,500 lives every year.

Learn more about Chagas and other neglected diseases.

DNDi and New Drugs for Neglected Diseases

Founded in 2003, the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) brings together the academic, medical, public health, and pharmaceutical worlds to create effective drugs to treat neglected diseases like Chagas disease, sleeping sickness, and visceral leishmaniasis. DNDi has developed an innovative not-for-profit model for drug research and development that is patient-centered and based on needs rather than profits. 

in 2003 MSF brought together five prominent public sector research institutes—Brazil’s Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, the Indian Council for Medical Research, the Kenya Medical Research Institute, the Ministry of Health of Malaysia, and France’s Pasteur Institute—and the UNDP/World Bank/World Health Organization’s Special Program for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases to create DNDi.

In just seven years, under the leadership of former General Director of MSF in France, Dr. Bernard Pecoul, DNDi has introduced six new treatments: two treatments for drug-resistant malaria that have already reached 150 million people; the first new treatment in 25 years for the advanced stage of sleeping sickness; for visceral leishmaniasis, a new combination therapy for patients in Africa and a set of combination therapies for patients in South Asia; and a new child-adapted Chagas disease drug formulation.
Photo: Screening for Chagas in Colombia.
Colombia 2010 © Mads Nissen

DNDi and New Drugs for Neglected Diseases

Founded in 2003, the Drugs for Neglected Diseases initiative (DNDi) brings together the academic, medical, public health, and pharmaceutical worlds to create effective drugs to treat neglected diseases like Chagas disease, sleeping sickness, and visceral leishmaniasis. DNDi has developed an innovative not-for-profit model for drug research and development that is patient-centered and based on needs rather than profits.

in 2003 MSF brought together five prominent public sector research institutes—Brazil’s Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, the Indian Council for Medical Research, the Kenya Medical Research Institute, the Ministry of Health of Malaysia, and France’s Pasteur Institute—and the UNDP/World Bank/World Health Organization’s Special Program for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases to create DNDi.

In just seven years, under the leadership of former General Director of MSF in France, Dr. Bernard Pecoul, DNDi has introduced six new treatments: two treatments for drug-resistant malaria that have already reached 150 million people; the first new treatment in 25 years for the advanced stage of sleeping sickness; for visceral leishmaniasis, a new combination therapy for patients in Africa and a set of combination therapies for patients in South Asia; and a new child-adapted Chagas disease drug formulation.

Photo: Screening for Chagas in Colombia.
Colombia 2010 © Mads Nissen

Paraguay: Standing up to Chagas: Slideshow

Chagas is a neglected disease that affects between eight and ten million people, mainly in Latin America. MSF works in Paraguay’s rural Chaco region, going into isolated communities to educate people about the disease and screen them for it. Internationally, MSF fights to improve access to diagnosis and treatment for the disease and advocates for more research and development into its treatment.Photo:Paraguay 2012 © Anna Surinyach/MSF
The first step in fighting Chagas is raising awareness amongst the population. The disease can remain asymptomatic for years, so many infected people do not know they are carrying it. MSF is working with health staff and community leaders throughout Chaco to explain what Chagas is to the population.

Paraguay: Standing up to Chagas: Slideshow

Chagas is a neglected disease that affects between eight and ten million people, mainly in Latin America. MSF works in Paraguay’s rural Chaco region, going into isolated communities to educate people about the disease and screen them for it. Internationally, MSF fights to improve access to diagnosis and treatment for the disease and advocates for more research and development into its treatment.

Photo:Paraguay 2012 © Anna Surinyach/MSF

The first step in fighting Chagas is raising awareness amongst the population. The disease can remain asymptomatic for years, so many infected people do not know they are carrying it. MSF is working with health staff and community leaders throughout Chaco to explain what Chagas is to the population.

Chagas in Paraguay: The Scourge of the Vinchuca

In Paraguay, MSF is covering the rural Chaco region, encouraging people to be tested and treated for Chagas, a widespread but little known and potentially fatal disease.

Access to Essential Medicines: Ten Stories That Mattered in 2011

7. Drug Shortages Threaten Moves to Expand Treatment for Chagas Disease 

New treatment programs for Chagas are being put on hold because of shortages of benznidazole, the main drug used to treat this neglected parasitic disease.

The shortages have been caused, among other factors, by a lack of planning for new production by LAFEPE, Brazil’s state-owned laboratory where benznidazole is manufactured. As a result, MSF has been forced to suspend plans to expand treatment for Chagas in Bolivia, the country hardest-hit, and also had to slow down screening patients for the disease in Paraguay for a period.

Photo: Bolivia 2011 © Vania Alves/MSF

Access to Essential Medicines: Ten Stories That Mattered in 2011

7. Drug Shortages Threaten Moves to Expand Treatment for Chagas Disease

New treatment programs for Chagas are being put on hold because of shortages of benznidazole, the main drug used to treat this neglected parasitic disease.

The shortages have been caused, among other factors, by a lack of planning for new production by LAFEPE, Brazil’s state-owned laboratory where benznidazole is manufactured. As a result, MSF has been forced to suspend plans to expand treatment for Chagas in Bolivia, the country hardest-hit, and also had to slow down screening patients for the disease in Paraguay for a period.

Photo: Bolivia 2011 © Vania Alves/MSF

In the outskirts of Cochabamba, Bolivia, MSF provides medical assistance to patients up to 50 years old, promoting the inclusion of adult patients in the treatment of Chagas disease. This is a step forward in the fight against Chagas; until recently, it was thought that the treatment was only effective on very young children.
Bolivia 2009 © Anna Surinyach
Chagas is one of the neglected diseases included in our “Top 10 Humanitarian Crises of 2009” report.  Learn more here.

In the outskirts of Cochabamba, Bolivia, MSF provides medical assistance to patients up to 50 years old, promoting the inclusion of adult patients in the treatment of Chagas disease. This is a step forward in the fight against Chagas; until recently, it was thought that the treatment was only effective on very young children.

Bolivia 2009 © Anna Surinyach

Chagas is one of the neglected diseases included in our “Top 10 Humanitarian Crises of 2009” report. Learn more here.