Chagas disease is still present in parts of Colombia

A recent survey carried out in the provinces of García Rovira, Comunera and Guanentár in Santander Department revealed the presence of human carriers of the parasite that causes Chagas disease. The insect that causes Chagas disease lives in unkempt housing (cracks in the walls or ceiling), as well as in various areas outdoors, such as rock, wood, or brush piles, beneath bark or porches, animal burrows, chicken coops or dog houses. The insect bites at night. There is no vaccine to protect against Chagas disease. The risk to travellers is generally low. This risk is increased if travellers camp, stay in poorly constructed housing, obtain unscreened blood transfusions, or ingest contaminated food or drink in areas (usually rural) where Chagas disease occurs. Travellers who cannot avoid camping, sleeping outdoors, or staying in poor quality housing should sleep under insecticide-impregnated bed nets and tuck in the edges to protect against the insect bite.

Visit our Health Library for more information on exposure to and the prevention of Chagas Disease.