Travel Medicine / Vaccination / Immunization Expert Forum
Chagas infection?
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Questions in the Travel Medicine forum are answered by Dr. Philip D Parks, affiliated with Harvard School of Public Health. Topics covered include disease prevention, finding a doctor abroad, food and water safety, illness and injury abroad, mosquito and tick protection, resources for travelers, traveling with children or pets, traveling with special needs, vaccinations and immunizations.

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Chagas infection?

Good afternoon/evening!

I’ve been reading the news about Chagas disease lately and I have a concern and some questions.
Here’s my concern:

About 6 years ago, I dated a man in the US Air Force who was born in Central America (Panama or Costa Rica, I think?) We dated for a few months. At one point in our relationship, we were French kissing and I tasted blood. It was a tiny amount (not even visible in my saliva, but I still tasted it) I spit the saliva out immediately and he told me that he had a loose tooth and was going to the dentist later that week. He apologized.

I have been reading in recent news articles that Chagas is a blood-borne disease and I am concerned of any potential for transmission if he were to have been carrying it in his blood.

I have visited the doctor numerous times since this event six years ago and had repeated blood tests of varying types – none of which showed anything abnormal.

The rational side of me tells me that he was a US Air Force military officer and infection with Chagas is extremely unlikely.  I am also very healthy and active, for the most part. The rational side of me also tells me that my risk was pretty much non-existent and that it is simply my OCD getting the better of me.

As a medical professional, do you believe that I have cause to worry about this incident 6 years ago?
Avatar_dr_m_tn
Hello,

Based on the details in your posting, what you describe is a very unlikely if not impossible way for a person to be infected with the parasite that causes Chagas disease.

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0002348/

~ Dr. Parks

This answer provided to you is not intended as and does not substitute for medical advice. The information presented in this Medhelp.org posting is for patients’ education only. As always, I encourage you to see your personal physician for further evaluation of your individual case.
2 Comments
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Avatar_m_tn
I also forgot to add that I have donated blood to the Red Cross approximately three times since then and never gotten anything negative in return.
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