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, 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.”
Chagas: Silent Killer from MSF Access Campaign on Vimeo.