SymptomsBy Mayo Clinic staff
Chagas disease can be acute or chronic. Symptoms range from mild to severe, although many people don't experience symptoms until the chronic stage.
The acute phase of Chagas disease, which lasts for weeks or months, may be symptom-free. When signs and symptoms do occur, they are usually mild and may include:
- Swelling at the infection site
- Body aches
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea, diarrhea or vomiting
- Swollen glands
- Enlargement of your liver or spleen
Signs and symptoms that develop during the acute phase usually go away on their own. However, if untreated, the infection persists and advances to the chronic phase.
Signs and symptoms of the chronic phase of Chagas disease may occur 10 to 20 years after initial infection, or they may never occur. In severe cases, however, Chagas disease signs and symptoms may include:
- Irregular heartbeat
- Inflamed, enlarged heart (cardiomyopathy)
- Congestive heart failure
- Sudden cardiac arrest
- Difficulty swallowing due to enlarged esophagus
- Abdominal pain or constipation due to enlarged colon
When to see a doctor
See your doctor if you live in or have traveled to an area at risk of Chagas disease and you have signs and symptoms of the condition, such as swelling at the infection site, fever, fatigue, body aches, rash and nausea.
- Chagas disease: Detailed FAQs. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/chagas/gen_info/detailed.html. Accessed May 4, 2011.
- Bern C. Epidemiology and control of Chagas disease. http://www.uptodate.com/home/index.html. Accessed May 4, 2011.
- Bern C, et al. Evaluation and treatment of Chagas disease in the United States: A systematic review. Journal of the American Medical Association. 2007;298:2171.
- Yacoub S, et al. Neglected tropical cardiomyopathies: I. Chagas disease. Heart. 2008;94:244.
- Milei J, et al. Prognostic impact of Chagas disease in the United States. American Heart Journal. 2009;157:22.
- Rosenthal PJ. Protozoal & helminthic infections. In: McPhee SJ, et al. Current Medical Diagnosis & Treatment 2011. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2011. http://www.accessmedicine.com/content.aspx?aID=778139. Accessed May 4, 2011.
- Rassi Jr. A, et al. Chagas disease. The Lancet. 2010;375:1388.